If you see smoke coming out of the ground in south Fayetteville this week, try not to freak out.
A study is underway that includes smoke testing of the city’s sewer system.
The technique helps locate cracks in the system so they can be repaired. Repairing cracks helps prevent rainwater from entering the sewer system and the city’s wastewater treatment facilities. And because treating less water saves money, the city is hoping to fill as many cracks as possible.
The process includes forcing air and non-toxic smoke into the sewer lines. Places where smoke may appear include vent pipes on roofs, or areas where connections are made near streets, roof drains, patio drains, or footing drains. Smoke should not enter buildings unless plumbing defects or dry drain traps are present.
If smoke does enter your home, the potential exists for dangerous sewer gases to also enter leak in, so it’s recommended that a licensed plumber be called to investigate the area.
Officials said the smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly, and is completely harmless. However, if someone in your home has respiratory problems, you might want to take extra precautions such as leaving your home until the smoke testing is completed. The smoke product safety data sheet can be found here.
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.
Since crews must open and enter manholes, it’s possible someone might need access to an easement on private property. In those instances, residents are asked to temporarily secure pets away from those locations. Workers will not need to enter any homes.
Included below is an informative short video produced by the Charleston Water and Sewer System that explains in detail the process and reasons to conduct smoke testing. It’s the same program being conducted in Fayetteville by engineers with RJN Group, Inc.
If you believe smoke is entering your home from smoke testing, or for questions about the work, call RJN Group at 479-300-6308 or the Fayetteville Water and Sewer Division at 479-575-8386.