By: Jeremy DeighanOctober 9, 2023

Smoke Testing of the Sanitary Sewer System Begins October 16, 2023

The City of Elkins Wastewater Department, in collaboration with Burgess & Niple, will be conducting smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system in the upcoming weeks. This testing will begin on October 16, 2023, and extend over a two-week period, since the process is weather dependent. This test will be done in the 3rd Ward-Stewart Ave. Lift Station tributary areas.

This study will involve the opening and entering of manholes in the streets and public utility easements. An important task of the testing will be to locate breaks and defects in the sewer system. The smoke will also reveal sources of where storm and other surface water enter the sewer system.

A special non-toxic smoke will be used in these tests. The smoke is manufactured for this purpose. It leaves no residuals or stains and has no effect on plant or animal life. The smoke has a distinctive, but not unpleasant, odor. Visibility and odor last only a few minutes, where there is adequate ventilation.

Because the plumbing appliances in your house or building are connected to the sanitary sewer system, some smoke may enter your home or place of business if the:

  • Vents connected to your building’s sewer pipes are inadequate, defective, or improperly installed.
  • Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers, and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing.
  • Pipes, connections, and seals of the wastewater drain system in and under your buildings are damaged, defective, have plugs missing, or are improperly installed.

All residents are advised that if traces of this smoke or its odor enter your house or building, it is an indication that gases and odors from the sewer may also enter. These can be both unpleasant and dangerous, as well as a health risk to the occupants.

Should smoke enter your home or business, you may contact a member of the smoke testing crew working in your area or contact the City of Elkins Wastewater Collection Department at (304) 636-2058.

The crew members will be able to help and check with you as to where the smoke has entered your building. Location, identification, and correction of the source of smoke that enters your building is urgently advised. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

The information gained from this testing will be used to improve your sewer services and may reduce the eventual cost to utility customers.

Should you have any questions on this matter, please contact Whitney Hymes, City of Elkins Superintendent/Chief Operator at (304) 636-1122.

Here are some maps of the effected areas:

Smoke Testing Phase 3

Smoke Testing Phase 3 - 2 Smoke Testing Phase 3 - 3

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