About Sewer Overflows

Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) occur when wastewater overflows a manhole. Overflows are rare and are most likely to occur after periods of heavy rainfall when storm water floods the sewer system.  A sewer line blockage or problem with a wastewater pump station can also cause a sewer overflow.

What to do if you see a sewer overflow

If you see an overflowing sanitary sewer manhole, call (843) 727-6800 to report it. Avoid contact with the affected area. Because overflows can happen during heavy rainfall, avoid contact with flood waters. 

How we respond to overflows

Depending on the situation, we respond to overflows in a number of ways:

  • If possible, contain the overflow with a berm or sand bags
  • Remove the overflowed wastewater with a vacuum truck, which can hold 2,000 gallons
  • Spray an environmentally friendly disinfecting solution on the affected area
  • Notify nearby residents/businesses with door hangers
  • If the overflow was caused by a blockage or damaged sewer line/pump station, make necessary repairs
  • If any wastewater reached a body of water, notify the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), take water samples, and if necessary, post signs warning people to avoid contact with the water until bacteria levels return to safe levels.