CSO Notification

The City of Elkhart owns and operates a combined sewer system. During dry weather conditions the system conveys sanitary sewage to the wastewater treatment plant for treatment. Tied to portions of the sewer system, primarily in the urban core areas, are surface runoff collection catch basins. During wet weather conditions runoff from rainfall or snowmelt enters the sewer system, combining with the sanitary flow. In large wet weather events, the system capacity becomes overwhelmed and portions of the combined flow are discharged into the local rivers to relieve the system. This relief system keeps sewage from backing up into basements, or surcharging manholes and flowing into street gutters. The City is permitted by the State of Indiana for 33 of these overflow discharge point located along the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. The below sign can be found at locations throughout the city where the outfalls are located within priority areas, such as parks, boat launches, schools, etc.

CSO Sign

In accordance with State of Indiana law, the Elkhart Office of Public Works utilizes this sign to communicate to our citizens that caution should be taken when choosing to engage in recreational activity on or in the surface water bodies of our community during and after a rainfall or snowmelt event. These signs can be found at every permitted outfall location.

Unsafe Sign
When you see the graphic above displayed on the left column of this website's homepage, below the weather, there is a current active combined sewer overflow alarm. The alarm will stay in effect for 48 hours for safety reasons after the overflow is discontinued.

For more information please follow the below links:


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