City sewer smoke testing to start Monday

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | 6:33 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Sewer smoke testing, which is a means of evaluating the city’s sewer collection system, will begin Monday.

Depending on weather conditions, the testing will last six to eight weeks, according to a news release from the Public Works Department.

The testing will happen in the areas around West Boulevard, Stadium Boulevard, Fairview Road and Interstate 70. TREKK Design Group LLC, the company conducting the testing, will send staff to put signs and door tags with information about the project in affected neighborhoods.

The purpose of these tests is to locate defects in the sanitary sewer system by pumping smoke into main sewer lines. The smoke will travel through service connections and escape through the ground where there are leaks, which will allow TREKK to identify the locations, according to the release.

When a defect is found, TREKK will use cameras and Google Maps to document the locations of the defects. The information gathered will be used to improve the neighborhoods' services and prevent sewer overflows.

The smoke that will be used is harmless and should not enter properties unless there is defective plumbing or dried-up drain traps. Residents in the affected areas can run water for a few seconds into unused drains, such as basement drains, to fill fixture traps and prevent smoke from entering their homes, said Steven Sapp, public information specialist for the Public Works Department.

An interactive map is available on the city’s website that can be used to determine whether properties are located within the areas that will be tested. Residents can enter their addresses in the search box in the upper right corner to find out if their neighborhood will be affected.

The testing will happen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Sapp said residents shouldn't be alarmed if they notice smoke in their properties, as it is non-toxic, harmless and not a fire hazard. If residents believe the smoke is not related to the test, they should call 911.

Kate Everson contributed to this report. Supervising editor is Ann Elise Taylor.

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