The Town of Bridgewater will be conducting some “smoke testing” of the town’s sanitary sewer system from August 17 through 21.
UPDATE: Additional smoke testing will be taking place in Bridgewater, August 24 to 26. Locations include:
Smoke testing is a method used to find potential leaks and deficiencies within the wastewater system, such as cracks and breaks, which would not otherwise be easily located without more intrusive investigations, such as excavation.
The smoke testing of wastewater infrastructure is part of the Town’s ongoing Inflow and Infiltration Study, being conducted by DesignPoint Engineering and Surveying Ltd. The tests will be taking place in the month of August on the west (King Street) side of the river, with a focus on the central and southern ends of town.
Once exact locations are confirmed, residents living in areas where smoke testing will be taking place will be notified door to door.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN SMOKE TESTING OCCURS
First thing’s first – it’s not really smoke.
During testing, a non-toxic, light gray, artificially created “smoke” – like a fog machine at a concert – is blown into access points (manholes) in the wastewater system. While not harmful to humans, pets, plants, it can be irritating to folks with respiratory issues. If you see testing taking place near a manhole and you have respiratory problems, you may wish to avoid travelling through the area.
If you are notified that smoke testing is going to occur in your neighborhood, you should make sure that all plumbing traps connected to your sinks, tubs/showers, and floor drains have water in them. This can be done by pouring three cups of water in them or running the faucet for 60 seconds.
Frequently used plumbing traps typically have water in them. However, if not frequently used, traps can go dry allowing smoke (and sewer gas) into your home.
If your plumbing traps have water in them as described above, the smoke should not enter your home during testing. If it does, it may be an indication of a defect in your plumbing and could mean sewer gases may enter your home, which can be a health hazard. If you notice this during testing in your house, you should contact your plumber.
Plumes coming from plumbing vents and manhole rims during testing is normal. Plumes located in other areas can indicate defects and will be noted and photographed.
Most homes will only be in the test area for one or two set ups, and each set up takes approximately 30 minutes. Smoke test crews will walk around the outside of your house and yard looking for smoke exiting the sewer system.
If you are home and see smoke inside or outside your home, you can notify a member of the test team on site.