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CSO Tunnels Overview

The tunnels are part of a storage and treatment system that involves capturing and storing combined sewer overflows. The overflows are stored in large underground excavated tunnels in bedrock similar to the rock of Stone Mountain. When the rainfall is over, the captured CSO volume is conveyed to a separate treatment system for removal of pollutants and ultra-violet disinfection before discharge to receiving waters. Two tunnels will be constructed.

One tunnel will store and convey overflows from the west area of Atlanta to a new dedicated treatment facility located near the Chattahoochee River. The other will store overflows from the east area of Atlanta and convey the flows to the existing Intrenchment Creek CSO Treatment Facility, which will be expanded and upgraded. At each of the CSO treatment facilities, the combined sewage and stormwater will undergo a higher level of treatment than that provided at existing facilities before being discharged into receiving waters. The treatment components include both physical and chemical processes to remove suspended solids and metals, and disinfection by chlorination that destroys virus and bacteria to protect public health.

As parts of the combined sewer system are separated, the existing combined system can be used to treat storm water runoff from the separated portions in addition to the combined sewage from the urban core portion of the CSO area, which includes the central part of Atlanta, encompassing downtown, Midtown (near Piedmont Park), the Georgia Tech and Georgia Dome areas, and parts of east Atlanta near Grant Park. Storm water is a significant source of pollution in our streams and rivers.

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