Wastewater Service


Follow a drop of water by watching SD1's wastewater treatment video!
Wastewater is the flow of used water from homes, businesses, schools, industries and more. This flow includes water from showers, sinks, dishwashers, car washes, hospitals and food processing operations. 

Wastewater is funneled into SD1's sanitary sewer system where it is safely transported to a wastewater treatment plant, cleaned and emptied into the nearest creek or river. 

Private laterals connect your home to SD1's pipes. 

Laterals are pipes that connect homes to SD1's public sanitary sewer system. They move wastewater from the drains in buildings to the public system.

If you own your home, you also own your lateral and are responsible for maintaining it. If your lateral is broken, blocked or improperly connected to SD1's system, your wastewater is unable to travel into the public pipes and may back up into your home. 

To make maintaining private laterals easier, some have sewer lateral cleanouts, which are vertical pipes that connect an underground lateral to the surface. Sewer lateral cleanouts have removable caps so homeowners and plumbers can quickly access laterals and prevent messes such as sewage backups in homes. SD1 also offers a private lateral repair program to help homeowners who meet certain requirements. 

Two types of systems make up the public sewer network. 

SD1 maintains public pipes that carry wastewater from private laterals to a wastewater treatment plant. These pipes range in size from six inches wide to 12 feet tall.  

The earliest infrastructure built in Northern Kentucky makes up the combined sewer system, which carries wastewater and storm water runoff in the same pipes. During dry weather, the pipes in this system carry mostly wastewater from homes and businesses and deliver it to a treatment plant for cleaning. 

Separate sewer systems, which can be found in more recently developed areas, have two networks of underground pipes:
  • The sanitary network carries wastewater to a treatment plant.
  • A separate storm water network carries runoff from rain water and snowmelt to the nearest body of water to prevent flooding.

Pump stations move sewage across the area's hilly landscape. 

Pump stations funnel wastewater from one pipe to another and increase the speed of flow. Most of the wastewater in SD1's system flows to a treatment plant through gravity lines, pipes that allow wastewater to flow downhill. However, because Northern Kentucky is so hilly, SD1 relies on pump stations and pressurized force mains to move wastewater uphill in some areas. 

Treatment plants clean the wastewater before it returns to the Ohio River.

SD1 operates three major wastewater facilities and several smaller wastewater treatment plants. These treatment plants clean and disinfect wastewater before returning the cleaned water to the nearest creek or river.  

The treatment process includes several steps to make sure the wastewater is clean enough to be released into the environment. Learn more by viewing interactive maps of our wastewater treatment plants.
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