SAWS News: SAWS Celebrates Sewer Success With Record-Low Spills
Aquifer Beaker

Edwards Aquifer

Aquifer Level 684.4'
5/16/19 - Official

The Edwards aquifer and its catchment area in the San Antonio region is about 8,000 square miles and includes all or part of 13 counties in south-central Texas.

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Year-Round Watering Hours

Watering with an irrigation system or sprinkler is allowed any day of the week before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

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Aquifer Level 684.4 | Year-Round Watering Hours

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SAWS Celebrates Sewer Success With Record-Low Spills

Sanitary sewer overflows, or SSOs, are messy, stinky and inconvenient. But thanks to cleaning crews and ratepayer dollars, San Antonio Water System is making vast improvements in preventing those SSOs from occurring.

In fact, SAWS significantly reduced SSOs in 2017 by 37 percent from the previous year — the lowest number since SAWS entered into an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 to improve the city’s sewers.

“One of the first things we had to do was televise pipes throughout the city to identify critical areas needing repair,” said Jeff Haby, vice president of production and treatment. “(Now we have) a clear map for prioritizing repair and replacement of pipes.”

SSOs occur when the flow of wastewater in a sewer is obstructed. The largest sewer spills in 2017 were caused by heavy rain events. But the build-up of debris, grease and roots accounted for the majority of cases.

Under the 2013 EPA agreement, SAWS is investing more than $1 billion over 10-12 years to reduce sewer spills and maintain sewer infrastructure. SAWS has inspected about 90 percent of the 5,000 miles of sewer pipes citywide.

Numerous projects in trouble-prone areas are already underway, including one near Holbrook Road on the Northeast Side replacing three miles of sewer infrastructure.

About a quarter of the 2018 rate adjustment has been allotted to wastewater service, allowing SAWS to continue repairing and replacing aging sewers.

Learn more about sewer-related construction projects at

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