Abbreviations & Glossary

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CAD - Computer-assisted design
CAP - Corrective Action Plan
CCTV - Closed circuit television
CFR - Code of Federal Regulation
CIPP - Cured-in-place pipe
CMOM - Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance
COA - Consent Order and Agreement
CSO - Combined Sewer Overflow
CWA - Clean Water Act
DEP - Department of Environmental Protection
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
ESRI - Environmental Systems Research Institute
GIS - Geographic Information System
GPS - Global positioning system
I/I - Inflow and infiltration
LRB - Legislative Reference Bureau
LTCP - Long-term Wet Weather Control Plan
NMC - Nine Minimum Controls (part of the CSO Policy)
NPDES - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (permitting program)
POTW - Publicly Owned Treatment Works
SBA - Small Business Administration
SBE - Small Business Enterprise
SSO - Sanitary Sewer Overflow



CMOM (Capacity, Management, Operation & Maintenance) - Also known as the SSO Rule, this proposed regulation sets stringent guidelines for the capacity, management, operation and maintenance of municipal sanitary sewer collection systems.

CSO Policy - Sets short (nine minimum controls) and long-term (long-term control plan) requirements for municipal combined sewer collection systems.

Cleanout - An opening which allows for removing any debris or obstruction that might block the flow of wastewater.

Clean Streams Law - State regulation similar to the Clean Water Act. Enforced by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this law is one of the first such environmental laws in the country to bring industrial wastes under legal control.

Clean Water Act - A 1977 amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, which set the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States. The Act, enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, prohibits any sanitary sewer overflows and requires that combined sewer overflows be controlled to three or four annually.

Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) - When a combined sewer is too full of rainwater and sewage, untreated sewage is discharged through design structures. This is designed to occur during wet weather, but can also occur due to poor operation and maintenance. Overflows also can occur through overflowing manholes or basement backups.

Combined Sewer System - A system that is designed to carry both stormwater and sewage in the same pipe. Combined sewer system communities are regulated by the CSO Policy (Nine minimum controls).

Deep Tunnel System - A system of large diameter tunnels buried up to 120 feet under the rivers that are the main conveyance of sewage to ALCOSAN.

Direct Stream Connections - Creeks and streams in municipalities that are captured in the sewage system and conveyed to ALCOSAN rather than channeled to the river.

Driveway drain - This drain channels water away from the driveway. On a driveway sloped toward the house, the drain is frequently improperly connected to the sanitary sewer.

Dye Test - A tracer test that is done to determine if downspouts or drains are connected to the sanitary sewer.


Foundation drain (also known as a French drain) - A drain installed around a home’s foundation to prevent ground water from entering the basement. Water should be routed to the stormwater system and not the sanitary sewer system.

House lateral - The pipe that conveys sewage from the house to the public sewer system connection.

Infiltration - When water enters the sewer system through leakage such as a cracked pipe. This can be caused by rainfall or by a high ground water table in the soil.

Inflow - When water enters into the sewer system through an opening such as a manhole lid or roof drain.

Interceptor Sewer - Carries sewage from the trunk sewers to the treatment plant.

Long-Term Wet Weather Control Plan (LTCP) - A detailed plan required under NPDES permits for combined sewer systems. The plan, which includes costly infrastructure projects, must reduce overflows to only three or four wet weather events annually, and must not impact water quality.

Manholes - Structures that are placed at changes in direction and elevations of sewer systems. Manholes are used as access for cleaning the sewer system and other maintenance activities.

Municipal Satellite Collection System - The portion of the sewer that is owned by the municipality. Excludes the house lateral. Carries sewage from many individual homes to the trunk sewer.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) - A system designed to carry stormwater only. MS4 systems will be regulated by the Stormwater Phase II regulations.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) - A national permit system for all discharges to waterways.

Overflow Structures - Structures that are designed to regulate sewage flows to the treatment plant by discharging excess flows into the rivers.


Pump Station - When a sewage connection cannot be made by gravity, this facility collects the sewage and pumps it to an adjacent sewershed.

Retention or Storage Facility - A tank that is built to store excess wet weather flows from sewer systems to prevent overflows. The tanks are drained back to the treatment plant during dry weather.

Sanitary Sewer System - A system that is designed to carry only sewage. Sanitary sewer system communities will be obligated to meet standards outlined in the new SSO Rule (CMOM) in the very near future.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) - When a sanitary or separate sewer is too full due to inflow and infiltration, untreated sewage is discharged through overflowing manholes and basement backups. This occurs primarily during wet weather, but can also occur due to poor operation and maintenance.

Satellite Treatment Facility - A small wet weather sewage treatment facility located at a point of a combined sewer overflow to treat the sewage before discharging it to streams and rivers.

Sewershed - A defined area whose sewage or stormwater flows to a single point connection at a sewer interceptor pipe or is tributary to a single pump station or treatment plant.

Sump pump - A system typically installed in a homeowner's basement that collects water and pumps it into the stormwater system to avoid wet basements. Sump pumps are frequently illegally connected to the sanitary sewer system.

Trunk Sewer - Carries sewage from multiple municipal collection systems to the inceptor.

Watershed - A region or area bounded peripherally by a divide and draining ultimately to a particular body of water.

Wye - The term for the point of connection between the house lateral and the public sewer.


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