A study was conducted on 34 German combined sewer systems including combined sewer overflow (CSO) tanks and treatment plant to show up actual hidden reserves and bottlenecks in stormwater treatment. The study gave also a general insight into the water pathways in urban hydrology. A special focus was given to undesired non-polluted water infiltrating into the sewer, labelled infiltration and inflow (I/I) or infiltration inflows, which is widely underestimated. It leads to a bad performance of the drainage system although the parasite waters are themselves non-polluted. In existing combined systems, pollution control can be considerably improved by reducing I/I. It is equivalent to the reduction of surface runoff e.g. by a separate drainage as frequently proposed alternative. Artificial infiltration of surface runoff may even increase infiltration inflows.

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