Crews are working in neighborhoods and commercial areas “smoke testing“ sewer lines. Smoke testing is an efficient and common test method used to identify defects such as cracks, leaks or faulty connections in the sanitary sewer collection system, which allow rainwater to enter this underground pipe network. Since the sanitary sewer system is only designed to handle sewage, additional rainwater causes problems within the system. Utilities will not be interrupted during the testing of the city’s nearly 36 miles of pipes in the service area.
During smoke testing, workers will blow a dense white smoke into the sewer system from the street and monitor where the smoke escapes, quickly revealing any cracks or breaks in pipes. For example, if smoke permeates up through a yard, it indicates a break in the sewer line at that location. Smoke would only enter homes or businesses if a property’s traps are dry or defective, or if there are uncapped or broken drain pipes. The smoke is odorless, non-toxic and non-staining. It will dissipate quickly. It will not harm pets or plants or leave a residue. The substance is similar to products used at concerts and sporting events during performances.
The project will also include inspection of 794 manholes and installation of “rain dishes,” which fit below manhole covers to create an additional barrier to keep rainwater and debris from entering the sewer system.
Crews will work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, weather permitting, and are in easily recognizable uniforms. Residents in the service area have been notified of the smoke testing via informational door hangers, and can call (888) 645-9570 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. if they have questions. The testing is scheduled to be completed by Friday, March 24.