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The original item was published from 8/11/2015 9:45:13 AM to 8/14/2015 6:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: August 11, 2015

[ARCHIVED] City Conducts Smoke Testing to Locate Openings in Sewer System



August 11, 2015

Contact: Tim Nyander
Utilities Director
Utilities Services Division

City Conducts Smoke Testing to Locate Openings in Sewer System

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The City of Fayetteville is currently conducting a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study (SSES) which includes flow monitoring and inspections of manholes and sewer drains. Below is a map indicating the testing area for the week of August 10, 2015.

Engineering firm RJN Group, Inc. has been contracted by the City to conduct the survey, including “smoke testing”, a procedure used to locate openings in the sewer system that allow surface rainwater runoff to enter sanitary sewers. This extra water then goes into wastewater treatment facilities and adds to the amount of water that must be treated. The information gained from smoke testing will be used to improve sewer service; crews will photograph defects in the City of Fayetteville sewer system in order to determine what repairs will need to be made at a later date.

Air, combined with non-toxic smoke, is forced into the sewer lines to disclose the location of connections and leaks. Smoke may appear where there are defects in the main sewer line or laterals (connection between the main line and a building), or where there are other connections to the sewer system such as roof drains, patio drains, and footing drains. Smoke will exit from the vent pipe on top of each residence during smoke testing. This is a normal occurrence for the smoke testing procedure. Smoke should not enter buildings unless there is defective plumbing or dried-up drain traps. To help prevent smoke from entering your home, please pour water into infrequently used sinks, showers, and floor drains. If smoke does enter your home, the potential exists for dangerous sewer gases to also enter your home; a licensed plumber can correct such problems.

The smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly, and is harmless. However, if someone in your home has respiratory problems, you may wish to take extra precautions on your own, such as leaving your home until the smoke testing is completed. The smoke product safety data sheet can be found here:

Smoke testing involves opening and entering manholes in streets and easements. Some sewer lines and manholes may be located in an easement on private property. Whenever these lines require investigation, crews will need access to the easements. Please temporarily secure your pets away from these locations. Workers will not need to enter your house. You do not need to be home during testing.

Letters have already been mailed to addresses within the study area. Additional advance notification will be provided by door hanger cards 24 - 72 hours before the smoke testing is to start in your area and signs will be posted at highly visible intersections when the crews are testing.

If you believe smoke is entering your home from smoke testing, or if you have questions about the Smoke Testing Program, please contact:
• RJN Group’s Fayetteville office at (479) 300-6308
• City of Fayetteville Water and Sewer Division at (479) 575-8386.

An informative short video about smoke testing was produced by/for the Charleston Water and Sewer System that explains in detail the process and reasons to conduct smoke testing. This is the same program being conducted in Fayetteville. Also, RJN Group, Inc. has provided a link to Frequently Asked Questions about smoke testing here:


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