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Frequently Asked Questions
The City of Shreveport’s Department of Water and Sewerage is designed to address Shreveport's sewer infrastructure and wastewater treatment needs now and in the future. Much of this work is driven by a Consent Decree agreement between Shreveport, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

This collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is designed to answer your questions about the nature of this work and the impact it will have upon residents, businesses, and other stakeholders living and/or working in Shreveport. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact customer service at 318-673-6375.


What is the City doing with the Clean Water Shreveport project?
The Clean Water Shreveport project is an ambitious multi-year program of projects and initiatives designed to improve water quality and protect the safety and health of citizens by rebuilding and modernizing the sewer collection system and treatment facilities. 

The City is undertaking a sewer infrastructure improvement program to eliminate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). In addition, this program includes wastewater treatment plant modifications/upgrades in order to meet wastewater discharge regulatory requirements. We are making a major capital investment in our sewer infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants now, so that we can create a sustainable system that serves the health and safety needs of Shreveport residents and businesses, and protects water quality for years to come.

Why is the Clean Water Shreveport Project needed?
In order to help improve the quality of life for the residents of the Shreveport and to comply with the Consent Decree that has been mandated by federal and state government.

What is a Consent Decree?
A Consent Decree is a legal document which formalizes an agreement reached between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Louisiana State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the City of Shreveport.  The Consent Decree relates specifically to violations of the federal Clean Water Act within the sewer collection system and at the wastewater treatment plants. 

What do Federal and State regulators require?
Shreveport has been cited by both federal and state government for sanitary sewer overflows.  The City of Shreveport negotiated the Consent Decree to avoid litigation and penalties.  Shreveport is required to comply with repairs and upgrades over a 12-year schedule.

How much will these improvements cost?
The costs for these mandated improvements will be paid for by rate increases in Shreveport citizens’ water and sewer bills over a 10-year period. Click here to view the rate increase table.

What is a sanitary sewer?
A sanitary sewer is a series of pipes and pumps that carries waste to a treatment plant from toilets, sinks, showers, washing machines, anything that sends water down a drain. 

What is an SSO?
SSO stands for Sanitary Sewer Overflow. An SSO occurs when raw sewerage overflows or leaks from a sewer pipe before it has had a chance to be treated at a wastewater treatment facility. The overflow can occur at a pump station, a maintenance hole, broken pipe, or cleanout.

Why do sewers overflow?
Sewers can develop cracks and breaks, or become clogged by tree roots or grease. Sometimes an area’s population grows beyond the capacity of the sewer system. These problems can cause the sanitary sewers to overflow into waterways or even back up into basements.

Are SSOs harmful?
Direct contact with untreated sewage is definitely harmful, as human and animal wastes contain bacteria and other disease causing pathogens. When untreated sewerage flows into local waterways, it degrades the quality of the water, harms aquatic life and requires more expensive treatment to discharge an acceptable quality of effluent into local waterways.

How is Shreveport planning to eliminate SSOs?
Through an extensive rehabilitation of the sewer system, the City will repair or replace broken pipes and other drainage structures. In addition, improvements will also be made at treatment plants to ensure that they have the capacity to receive and treat all of the wastewater that flows into them and to meet discharge limits once treated.

What should I do if I see a sewer overflow?
Immediately call The City’s Department of Water and Sewerage at 318-673-5510. Staff will be deployed to investigate, clean, take samples, and work with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to report and monitor the spill.

You should also take these precautions:

Keep people away from the area of the overflow (typically a manhole). This is especially important for children and pets who may play near the overflow area (e.g., street, public park, or local streams, creeks, and rivers).

Do not go near or touch the overflow. However, if you do happen to come in contact with the sewage overflow, wash your hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water before handling food or touching other persons or surfaces.

What can I do to help prevent SSOs?
Keep grease out of the sewers. Dispose of greasy and fatty foods, such as salad dressings, cooking oil, ice cream and sauces, in your garbage can instead of your sink or garbage disposal. Direct your gutters to send water away from house foundations. Make sure there are strainers over all floor and sink drains in your home. Have the line that connects your house with the public sewer line (called a house lateral or private sewer line) inspected.

Repairing broken private sewer lines, which is the homeowner's responsibility, can keep stormwater from leaking into pipes and prevent sewer backups into your home.

What is a private sewer line?
Your private sewer line is the underground sewer pipe that connects your plumbing to the public sewer system.

Does the City repair private sewer lines?
No, the City does not repair private sewer lines. Property owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing sewer pipes in their buildings and within their property lines.

What is the best way to maintain private sewer lines?
Help keep your private sewer lines in good working condition by avoiding planting trees, shrubs, or bushes on your property near the sewer lines. Roots from plants and trees can enter, block, and even cause damage to sewers.

How will my neighborhood be affected by this work?
Sanitary sewer rehabilitation can be disruptive to the neighborhood in the areas of the project work. The sewer system first has to be inspected through a variety of techniques that are part of a Sewer System Evaluation Survey, or SSES. For example, the SSES might involve viewing the insides of the sewers using closed circuit television (CCTV). To perform CCTV inspection, a robotic camera has to be lowered into a sewer manhole. The images are sent to a monitor located inside a large CCTV truck. Often, streets or lanes have to be closed to accommodate this activity. Rehabilitation activities might require the removal of parts of old sewer lines or the installation of new sewers alongside the old lines. While there are “trenchless” technologies that minimize the amount of digging required, you can still expect openings in streets and along curbs, along with large digging and hauling equipment, and heavy truck traffic. The City is committed to minimizing the disruption as much as possible, and we will communicate with residents, businesses, commuters and other stakeholders to provide advance notice of heavy impacts.

What if I have questions not answered here?
Please call customer service at 318-673-5510 for additional questions.

Clean Water Shreveport