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Smoke part of sewer test

January 19, 2012

Claremont citizens may observe constant smoke in the city beginning next week.

The smoke is harmless and part of an effort to eliminate ground and storm water from entering the sanitary sewer system.

Claremont will start conducting a sanitary sewer evaluation program next week, which includes smoke that will test sanitary sewer mains and house lateral connections for leaks and defects.

The testing will begin Monday and should be completed by Feb. 10, said Doug Barrick, Claremont city manager.

Barrick said smoke may be seen around roof vents, building foundations or manhole covers. He said the smoke is a non-toxic, odorless substance, which is clean and harmless to humans, pets, food and material goods.

“It's water-based and more a vapor than a smoke,” Barrick said. “As soon as you walk away from it, it’s not going to leave any lasting effects. It’s not harmful to animals and does not leave a smell. It’s odorless.”

The testing will include sewer lines in the general area from North Oxford Street to North Lookout Street, from east to west, and Centennial Boulevard to U.S. 70, north to south, according to a city press release.

Barrick said that area of the city has had small inflow and infiltration issues within the past several months. The testing should identify where the problems exist, he said. 
“We’ve just seen over the past 12 to 18 months abnormal flows coming into the north treatment plant,” he said.

The city will force smoke into the pipe. The smoke, searching for the least path of resistance, will then rise from the ground or any other area where a problem may lie. 
Barrick said the process also benefits homeowners.

“If everything functions correctly at their house, they shouldn’t see any smoke coming into their house,” Barrick said. “It really helps target homeowners' maintenance issues for them as well.”

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