Crews are scheduled to conduct a smoke test of the sewer lines that run along the area North Avenue as they perform regular maintenance.
“We do this in areas of the sewer system every so often to make sure there is not a problem that hasn’t been found yet by any other means,” said Tim Brunson, operations supervisor with the department.
A smoke test involves pushing a large amount of non-toxic smoke through a closed section of pipes to better detect any leaks or problems.
If there is a problem, a small plume of smoke will rise from the area and crews can note where they need to check.
“We hope no one will see the smoke, but even with the system sealed for the test there may be some come up from around the manholes,” Brunson said.
The section to be tested today starts on Rudy Street and then runs down Southern Street to North Avenue. It then continues up North Avenue and across North Broad all the way to Wolf Drive.
No roads will be closed for the test, which is expected to start around 8:30 a.m. and finish by 3 p.m.
Some of the problems that could come up include clogs created by last week’s storms that rolled through the area.
Brunson said when yards become flooded due to heavy rains, the water runs off into the sewer system and carries debris and other things that can create blockages.
“We’re working to make sure the system is as tight as we can possibly make it,” Brunson said.
Notifying the public has been a key part of conducting these tests since some people could have the smoke enter their homes.
When smoke is sent through the system, it can sometimes come up through the base of a toilet if there is a damaged or bad wax ring underneath it.
“It scares people sometimes, but the smoke and non-toxic and harmless,” Brunson said. “It actually serves as a benefit for those folks because sewer gas is something you don’t want to have coming into a house.”
Brunson advises that if a person along the section set to be tested sees smoke coming up from the base of a toilet then they need to replace the wax ring.
The city reported there were two sewage spills last Thursday. Click here to read a previous report.
Both spills occurred because the large amounts of rain caused nearby waterways to overflow their banks and cover a few manholes, which allowed sewage to escape when the water filled the lines.
One spill, at the backside of the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, released approximately 23,400 gallons of sewage into the Etowah River while the other, on Dalton Road, released approximately 16,000 gallons into a small tributary leading to the Oostanaula River.