Regardless of what it is called, anytime untreated sewage gets out of the sewer system there is a problem. The HRSD sewer system serves a geographic area of nearly 5,000 square miles with a population of more than 1.9 million. HRSD owns and operates about 500 miles of pipe lines that carry sewage from locality sewer systems to the HRSD treatment plants. This system, which is designed to handle wastewater from homes and businesses, has the capacity to treat 225 million gallons per day. Every effort is made to design, construct, and operate the system so that no sewage ever gets out of the system. However, occasionally some does due to a variety of reasons including blockages, damage to pipes, mechanical failures, vandalism, or very heavy rain or unusually high tides.