This photo is from earlier this morning at the intersection of Spring Street and Sherman Boulevard.
We sent an email to Fort Wayne City Utilities spokesperson Frank Suarez, but haven’t received confirmation yet. We’re guessing this is what City Utilities refers to as “smoke testing” sewer lines in the neighborhood. Usually, a news release is sent out alerting the media when this situation is occurring, but nothing has been received.
What is “smoke testing” you might ask?
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 have 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 or 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, door hangers will be placed at homes and businesses in the area where the testing will be done.
The title of this post, jokingly refers to a recent Indy Star article.