Fort Wayne's sewer maintenance department will be “smoke testing” sewer lines in several southeast neighborhoods beginning Tuesday, September 2.
Smoke testing will be done in the area generally bounded by Paulding Road on the north and Tillman Road on the south, Hanna Street on the east and Fairfield Avenue on the west. Testing the entire area is expected to take about three weeks to complete.
Sanitary sewers in the area to be examined become overloaded when it rains indicating that rain water and ground water are entering lines intended to carry sanitary sewage only. This overloading occasionally results in an overflow of sanitary sewage to the St. Marys River.
To find the areas that leak, sewer utility workers will systematically blow smoke into manholes. The smoke will come out of the sewer system in places where the sewer may be cracked, have a bad joint or have some other deficiency that causes it to leak. Smoke may be seen coming out of manholes or out of the ground. The smoke being used is chemically generated but is non-toxic, non-staining, has no odor and creates no fire hazard. It will be white or gray in color.
Smoke may be seen coming from building gutters and downspouts if they are directly connected to sanitary sewer lines. Smoke coming from plumbing vents on roofs is not unusual. The smoke should not enter any homes or businesses. Smoke coming into a building may indicate that a drain trap ' the J-shaped piece of pipe ' is dry or that there is a plumbing defect. City Utilities suggests that property owners make sure all drain traps have water in them. Seldom-used floor drains are the most likely place that smoke will enter a building, so City Utilities recommends property owners pour a gallon of water into each floor drain.
If smoke does enter a structure, the occupants should exit the building and look for City Utilities crews who will be nearby conducting the testing. Also, if residents return home and find smoke in the building, they should call City Utilities at 427-1255 so that City Utilities can investigate the problem.
Prior to the testing, City Utilities will deliver door hangers and letters to residents and businesses in the area where the testing will be done. Questions may be directed to City Utilities Sewer Maintenance through the 311 call center open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.