Up in smoke: City testing sewer system for leaks

Image showing how sewer smoke testing works. Photo credit: Seminole County, Fla.

If you find smoke in your building next week, your plumbing may not up to snuff.

The city has hired a firm to conduct smoke tests on the sewer system near downtown, according to a news release.

The area to be tested is bound by Kittson Avenue on the north, Fourth Avenue South, on the south, South Fourth Street on the east and Cherry Street on the west. It will be divided into eight segments, each approximately three blocks in length.

The sewer of each segment will be pressurized with smoke. The smoke, which is non-toxic, will flow out of sewer vents on each building and any storm sewer connections.

If a building’s plumbing is in order, no smoke should enter a building. However, if smoke enters the building during testing, it could indicate a problem with the plumbing or sewer vent system.

According to the city, smoke in a building is often caused by dry traps in drains. To avoid this from happening, property owners in the testing area should pour approximately 1 quart of water down the drains of all sinks, showers, tubs, and other sanitary sewer drains. The water may be added any time prior to the testing.

The testing will take place from Sept. 10 through 13. People with severe allergies or respiratory problems should call (701) 775-8118.

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