In researching decision making topics, I chose to investigate the decisions that went into implementing the Evansville Sewer Replacement project and the impacts it had to consumers and local government officials. In order to understand and research the decisions made, I also had to explore the details of the project and what made up the initiative, its purpose, and its effect on consumers. Throughout research, it was determined that this project came about because of many factors over a period of time and the timeline of the project was based on and affected by decisions made by the city government.
The purpose of the Evansville Sewer Replacement initiative is to eliminate the use of Combined Sewer Outflows (About CSOs) in the City of Evansville within twenty years (Martin). This initiative was directed by the government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA enforces the Clean Water Act of 1972, which mandates the control of these CSO’s across the United States and demands that the city prepare a long-term plan in line with appropriate water quality standards (Program Facts). Due to the city’s decision throughout history to underinvest in their sewer system, they now are faced with having to address a significant issue of updating an aging system that requires many updates in order to comply with these federal mandates at a substantial cost (Evansville Water and Sewer Utility).
CSO’s are combined sanitary sewers that carry both sewage and storm water and the overage exceeds the capacity of the infrastructure (Program Facts). Around 100 years ago, many cities such as Evansville began building storm sewers to carry wastewater away from homes, businesses, and the streets. Then, with the installation of indoor plumbing in these homes and businesses, the sewage lines began being connected to these storm sewers, making them ‘combined’ sewers. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, waste treatment plants were engineered to treat the waste. However, during rain or snow fall, the wastewater would overflow into local bodies of water to avoid backups into the system (Program Facts).
The output caused from combined sewer outflows contain hazardous contaminants, including floating debris, disease causing pathogens, among many others. These pollutants are harmful to not only the environment, but to human health, as well as, keep us from utilizing the waters where the flows occur (CSO Impacts). So, given all these factors, it is easy to understand why the decision of updating the sewer system had to be made.
The aim of the program is to create economical solutions to alleviate the chance for future CSO’s, which is an action toward meeting the health and environmental standards set forth by the Clean Water Act (City of Evansville). The city is calling the response to this federal mandate, Renew Evansville. This will be a long-term capital improvement project that will cost in upwards of 500 million dollars and must be finished within 20 years. ...