City of Watertown to conduct smoke testing on sewer lines

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Signs are up across the City of Watertown to alert residents of smoke testing on sewer lines.

Watertown City Engineer Michael Delaney announced that the City will have a sewer system study performed on the Western outfall Trunk Sewer System. Specifically, field crews from GHD Engineers and GHD subcontractor JM Davidson Engineering will conduct smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system in local neighborhoods.

According to Delaney, this work is part of a larger study to help identify sources of extraneous flow entering the system.

“Smoke testing is an industry standard method of detecting defects in a sewer system. The process involves placing a high capacity air blower on top of a sanitary manhole and blowing ‘simulated smoke’ into the sewer system piping network,” stated Delaney. “The smoke will then escape the sewer system through unsealed pipe connections, deficiencies in the pipes, storm sewer interconnection or roof vents.”

In a letter to local residents, Delaney confirmed that the smoke used in non-toxic, harmless, odorless and will not create a fire hazard.

However, residents are urged to notify the field crew performing testing outside if the smoke enters their home. Residents are also asked to open windows and doors to allow for ventilation.

Delaney stated that if smoke does enter a home, this could be an indication of faulty plumbing or cracked seals. If smoke is detected on a property, a report documenting the smoke sighting will be prepared by the engineers and issued to the City.

Crew members may be seen testing opening manholes, walking through neighborhoods, including yards, taking photographs and documenting any smoke sightings.

Field crews from GHD Engineers and JM Davidson Engineering will be wearing high visible safety gear with visible logos.

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