Harrisburg, like cities across the country, is facing the challenge of maintaining and upgrading water and sewer infrastructure that was built decades ago. The city’s built infrastructure is a network of pipes, sewers, and pumps. This complex network of built infrastructure must work in tandem with the city’s natural infrastructure—its waterways, namely Paxton Creek and the Susquehanna River. Approximately 80% of the collection system was installed before 1940 meaning most of the city’s stormwater infrastructure is over 80 years old. The age of this infrastructure coupled with decades of deferred maintenance has resulted in a number of structural and operational deficiencies and debris buildup.
The condition of underground infrastructure is time consuming and difficult to inspect, but initial findings indicate that nearly 40% of Harrisburg’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure needs to be repaired or replaced. Capital Region Water recently added additional treatment processes at it’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility to meet new pollution control limits but additional upgrades are needed to replace outdated facilities and improve operations. These repairs will be a major focus for City Beautiful H2O.