Last updated: July 08. 2014 4:42PM - 276 Views
By April Jaynes ajaynes@civitasmedia.com

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GALLIPOLIS — City officials will smoke test the sewer system on Spruce Street — from First Avenue to the Spruce Street Extension — on Thursday afternoon, weather permitting.

City Project Coordinator and Safety Director Ed Swisher said the smoke test will allow officials to identify any defects in the sewer systems such as excess inflow or infiltration.

The smoke officials will use is non-toxic and non-staining. It has no odor, is white to gray in color and does not create a fire hazard. The smoke may be visible near vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground.

Swisher said the city preforms this test during the summer months to ensure there are no defects, such as broken laterals, in the sewer system.

“Let’s say if they had a broken pipe, then whenever a heavy rainfall comes in the water could come into the sewer,” Swisher said. “And if you get a lot of excess inflow, which is like storm water and stuff like that, then it could cause issues. You’re treating more water in the sewer. You’re actually treating more than you need. You’re not just treating sewer water, you’re treating storm water. It could be gutters hooked up to the house. They’re not supposed to be hooked into it. Things like that is what you’re looking for.”

Swisher also said the tests help improve the overall operating conditions and efficiency of the sewer systems.

“If you have a bunch of illegal hookups or get excess flow, then it reduces your capacity for future growth,” he said. “Your plants are capable of treating so many gallons of water a day, and if you got excess flow then that reduces your capacity.”

The city sent out a news release Monday to inform the public of the testing and what to do if individuals see smoke in their homes or businesses.

“If they happen to see smoke inside their house, they need to let us know because they may have defective plumbing,” Swisher said. “If they happen to have defective plumbing they’ll want to know because there could be gas that’s getting into their house from the sewer now.”

The release said it is also advisable for homeowners to pour a gallon of water into each drain trap of floors, sinks, showers and tubs prior to testing.

Individuals with respiratory problems are advised to leave the home or business prior to testing as a precautionary measure and can return after the testing is completed Thursday, Swisher said.

Other areas in the city will be tested throughout the summer, and the city will send out notices accordingly.

To report smoke in your home or business, call 740-446-1789.

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