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Expected Rainfall Leads to Sewage in Waterways


INDIANAPOLIS – With four inches of rain expected in Central Indiana over the next 24 hours, Citizens Energy Group is warning the public about raw sewage overflows. When it rains as little as a quarter of an inch, Indianapolis’ antiquated combined sewer system overflows into rivers and streams. Four inches of rain will cause 800 million gallons of raw sewage overflows or the equivalent of 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Raw sewer overflows continue to pose a very serious health threat. Raw sewage contains pathogens including disease-causing bacteria, such as E-coli, as well as parasites and viruses,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, Director, Marion County Health Department. “We urge people to stay away from area rivers and streams over the next several days due to the presence of raw sewage.”

Thanks to $500 million of investments since 2011, Citizens has prevented 2 billion gallons of raw sewage per year from reaching area waterways. Much work remains, however, to prevent the remaining 4 billion gallons of sewage that is currently polluting rivers and streams each year.

Citizens is currently building DigIndy, a 25-mile underground tunnel system designed to capture and store 250 million gallons of raw sewage during rain events. DigIndy will virtually eliminate combined sewer overflows by the year 2025. The Deep Rock Tunnel Connector, the first phase of DigIndy, is being constructed now on the south side of Indianapolis near Harding Street.

“If approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Citizens will be able to spend nearly $450 million over the next two years tackling the very serious issue of raw sewage overflows,” said Carey Lykins, President and CEO, Citizens Energy Group. “When the infrastructure projects are finished, Indianapolis waterways will be 95% cleaner than they are today. Cleaner water could lead to development along the river, attract more businesses to the city and ultimately make Indianapolis a better place to live, work and play.”

To learn more about DigIndy, visit DigIndyTunnel.com

About Citizens Energy Group

Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 800,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities only for the benefit of customers and the community. Additional information is available online at Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - YouTube

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