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Posted on: June 27, 2019

Sewer Smoke Testing is scheduled to continue into Sept.

Notice of Smoke Testing

The National Plant Services, Inc (NPS) has partnered with the City to conduct smoke testing of the sewer collection system. This will be a three month project that is scheduled to start on July 8th and end around September 30th, 2019. Because the testing will take time evaluating the exact date or time of when our crews will be testing a particular location will not be possible; but all residents will receive a door hanger notifying them when this test will be in their area. 

Smoke testing is a simple means of locating the defects in sewer mains and service laterals that allow rainfall runoff or ground water to enter the sanitary sewer collection system. Locating and correcting these defects help conserve the available capacity of the wastewater collection system, lift stations and treatment facility.

Smoke testing is done by introducing nontoxic smoke along with large volumes of air through an open sanitary sewer manhole. Smoke will appear around nearby manhole lids and from the ground above the defects in sewer mains and sewer service laterals. Smoke will also appear where there are cross connections to the storm sewer system. Smoke should not be observed inside a building. If the building has inadequate plumbing or dried-up drain traps (such as the P-trap under a sink), smoke may enter the building. Please ensure that your drain traps are airtight by periodically pouring a few cups of water down each drain that is infrequently used. Including sinks, laundry room floor drains, bathtubs, showers, unused washing machine drains, etc. Smoke coming out of plumbing vent roof stacks is completely normal and is not a cause for alarm. If the plumbing system of your residence/business is adequate and all drain traps are full of water, smoke should not be seen indoors.

Smoke testing is a process endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been safely used for 20 years to evaluate sanitary sewer collections systems. The “smoke” is not true smoke but rather a specifically formulated mist that is made up mostly of moisture from the atmosphere. The smoke is non-toxic, has no ill effects on humans, animals and plants, does not create a fire hazard, and leaves no residual odors, dust or stains. The mist may have a weak but not unpleasant odor. This odor is distinctive and does not smell like smoke produced from burning materials. Any visible mist indoors will dissipate within a few minutes with adequate ventilation. Mist dissipation can be accelerated by opening windows and using ceiling fans. Please do not call the fire department or panic with concern about a possible fire.

NPS strongly advises that any source of smoke within a building be located, identified, and corrected by a licensed plumber in accordance with the local codes. The correction of any defects in building plumbing systems or in a sewer pipes that are on private property is entirely the responsibility of the property owner.

If a deficiency is discovered on private property that allows storm water or debris to enter the sanitary sewer collection system, the location of the deficiency will be indicated with red flags. If you have any questions about the test, health issues, or any other concerns, feel free to ask a crew member, or contact NPS at 562-755-3305.

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