Detecting pipe problems: smoke identifies sewer leaks

City of Fort Wayne Seal

Press release from City Utilities:

Detecting Pipe Problems:
Smoke Identifies Sewer Leaks

Fort Wayne City Utilities will be “smoke testing” sewer lines in the southeast Fort Wayne beginning Monday July 13, 2009. The area being tested is bounded by Pontiac Street to the north, Abbott Street to the west, Oxford Street to south, and Wayne Trace Avenue on the east. The testing should be completed within one week.

Smoke testing is a process that allows crews to find leaks and other problems that are contributing to sewer overflows.

During the procedure crews will blow smoke into manholes to test sections of sewer and storm lines. If the smoke comes out of the sewer system it’s an indication that sewers may be cracked, have a bad joint, or another deficiency that causes it to leak.

The smoke being used is chemically generated but is non-toxic, non-staining, has no odor and creates no fire hazard. It will be white or grey in color.

Residents may see smoke coming out of manholes and inlets or out of the ground. Additionally, smoke may be seen coming from building gutters, downspouts, plumbing vents on roofs. Smoke should not enter any homes. If it does enter a home it could mean a drain tap is dry or that there is a plumbing defect. City Utilities suggests that property owners make sure that drain traps have water in them. For seldom used floor drains it is suggested that homeowners pour a gallon of water into each drain.

If residents find smoke in their home they should exit the building and look for City Utilities crews who will be nearby conducting the tests. If residents are away and return home to find smoke in their home, they should call the 311 service center so that City Utilities can investigate the problem.

Prior to the testing, City Utilities will be delivering door hangers and letters to residents and businesses in the area where the testing will be done. Questions may be directed to City Utilities at 427-1255 or to the 311 service center.

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