Trenton's sanitary sewer system is to receive smoke testing in the near future.
It's part of a study to detect storm water inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer collection system.
Trekk Design Group has been employed to conduct the study. Project manager, Gaylen Lay, says excessive flow into the system may create an increased risk of overflows and backups.
Information from the smoke testing, flow measurements, and manhole inspections will be used to make recommendations for the best ways to repair, replace, and/or rehabilitate the sanitary sewer collection and treatment systems. The flow monitoring already has begun.
Project Manager Lay says most of the project will have little to no impact on customers. He said the 1 phase which could have an impact is smoke testing---which is to help locate obstructions and defects in the sanitary sewer collection system.
Lay says smoke, persons may see coming from the vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground is non-toxic, harmless, has no odor, and creates no fire hazard.
The Project Manager remarked smoke will not enter houses if the plumbing is properly installed, and drain traps are not dry. He said, if smoke does enter a residence or business, it's recommended persons contact a plumber. Lay noted, if there's potential for smoke to enter, there's also a potential for dangerous sewer gases to get in more frequently. Should smoke enter a building, persons also may contact a member of the smoke testing crew working in the neighborhood.
Trekk Design Group Project Manager, Galen Lay, also remarked persons with seldom used drains, such as flood drains in the basement, should pour water in the drain to fill the trap. He said drain traps always should be filled with water to prevent sewer gases and odors from entering the building.
In addition, many washing machine drain pipes do not have traps. Lay said, to help prevent smoke from entering around the washing machine drain pipe, tie a damp rag around the drain opening.
About 48 hours before smoke testing, printed door notifications are to be distributed at each residence in the area being tested. The door hangers are to provide information regarding the procedure, names, and telephone numbers of personnel to contact for more information.
During the smoke testing activities, Trekk Design Group personnel will be identifying defects when smoke escapes through them. They may include roof downspouts; uncapped cleanouts; driveway, stairwell, yard, window well, and foundation-perimeter drains---and defective service pipes.
Project manager Lay said Trekk Design Group has no reason to expect difficulties, but wants to make the public aware of the coming activities.
Lay said it's anticipated smoke testing will require only a few hours in each neighborhood. He said information gained may be used to improve sewer services and the sewer system. Lay said public patience and cooperation is very much appreciated. He said questions may be directed to Trenton City Hall, and TMU's Water and Wastewater Distribution Department. The latter is listed in the telephone book under the TMU sewer system.
Lay said smoke testing will not be conducted during or immediately following rainfall. That's because saturated soil hinders the migration of smoke through the soil.