HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Capital Region Water says it has to release sewage into waterways because of its aging system.

CEO Charlotte Katzenmoyer said the near-record rainfall of 2018 forced the company to release sewage into the Susquehanna River and the Swatara Creek. She says the pipes can’t accommodate excess water during storms and heavy rain events.

Katzenmoyer says the release prevents other problems from occurring.

“In order to prevent more catastrophic events like sewer backups in homes and flooding in intersections,” Katzenmoyer said. “Those overflows relieve that excessive pressure.”

Katzenmoyer says the combined sewer system is outdated but not uncommon in more than 800 communities nationwide. She says that takes on a lot of pressure from several different directions when there is a storm or heavy rain.

“The sewage from buildings and rooftops, parking lots and hard surfaces, it all flows into the same pipe,” Katzenmoyer said.

Katzenmoyer says drinking water is not affected. She says the time that people would be at most risk to exposure on the Susquehanna River or Swatara Creek is during the heavy rainfall, a time when people should not be in or near the water.

Capital Region Water will host three community meetings to address customer concerns and to discuss a proposed $315-million City Beautiful H2O Program that will help to improve the current system.

The meetings are Tuesday, July 30, at Lincoln Administration Building, beginning at 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Camp Curtain Academy, beginning at 5 p.m.; and Thursday, Sept. 12, at Cloverly Heights Park, from 6-7:30 p.m.