Sanitary Sewer Overflow Notifications

In accordance with 314 CMR 16.00 regulations, the Town of Orleans in coordination with the Sewer Infrastructure operations team - Veolia, will be required to notify the public in the event that an SSO occurs within the sewer system that affects a public body of water.


What is an SSO?

An SSO, or Sanitary Sewer Overflow is the accidental discharge of wastewater into the environment prior to treatment.  SSOs can be caused by blockages within the collection system piping, hydraulic surcharging of the collect system, mechanical failure of pump station equipment, and sewer main breakages or collapses.  Although these events are rare, they could potentially cause untreated sewage to escape from the collection system and discharge to surface waters, streets, parks, buildings and other properties.  


In the event that an SSO is suspected to have occurred, the public is advised to avoid contact with the untreated sewage as it potentially cause exposure to disease causing organisms, pathogens, and other pollutants.  It is recommended to avoid contact with any receiving water for up to 48 hours after an SSO event.



The Veolia Operations team will have an annual collection system cleaning an inspection program in place to minimize the potential of SSOs occurring.  Even with this preventative work being completed by the operations team, residents of the town who are connected to the sewer system will play a critical role in minimizing the risk of SSOs by not flushing items into the system such as grease, oil, "flushable" wipes, food scraps, and other foreign items  as these could potentially create a blockage situation. Please view the informative pamphlet on what NOT to put into the collection system here.


How to be notified:

If you would like to sign up for an automatic notification of an SSO event that has affected a public body of water you may utilize the Alert Center and select “Sanitary Sewer Overflow to Public Waters”.  Once signed up, you will receive the Notification Template, which will also be posted on the Notification Archive page and regularly updated until the event has ended.


Response to SSOs:

If an SSO event is identified, please call the Veolia emergency line at 508-240-3700 x 3170.  The Veolia team will mobilize a crew to clear the blockage, disinfect the area as possible and coordinate any repairs to the collection system as necessary in coordination the Department of Public Works and Natural Resources.