When Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard came into office in 2008, he inherited a wastewater treatment and sewer system that was averaging 7.8 billion gallons of overflow each year, according to federal officials. At the time, it was not unusual for as little as one-quarter to a half inch of rainfall to fill the combined sewers to capacity and flood raw sewage into local rivers and streams. Ballard also inherited a two-year-old consent decree with the U.S. Dept. of Justice to bring the city in compliance with the Clean Water Act as well as a project to expand its wastewater treatment
The 2016 Summer Olympics boating and swimming events have put an international spotlight on what has been a long-running problem in Rio de Janeiro—untreated sewage and trash are clogging up major bays and waterways.