Smoke testing of sewer system to begin in Laredo Thursday

Smoke Testing Graphic

The city of Laredo and regional firm, McClure Engineering Company, will be beginning a thorough inspection into the condition of the city’s sanitary sewer system on Thursday, August 18.

MEC will be conducting two days of smoke tests throughout the city’s sewer system to check for cracks, broken pipes or leaking pipe joints where groundwater and/or stormwater could enter into the system’s mains. This leakage has the potential to overwhelm the city’s sanitary sewer system, and could lead to issues after significant rainfall. During the test, sanitary sewer mains are isolated and filled with a non-toxic white vapor that resembles smoke.

The vapor will not enter into any homes or businesses unless leaks or plumbing defects exist that could provide a pathway for the vapor to enter into the structure. To minimize the possibility of this non-toxic vapor entering your home or business, residents are encouraged to take the following actions:

  • The vapor used in the testing is non-toxic; however, acute exposure can cause irritation of the respiratory system. Residents are encouraged to properly ventilate any smoke-filled area by opening windows and doors and then leave the room to avoid exposure.
  • Make certain that drain traps for all sinks, basement floor drains, and other plumbing fixtures are full of water. This can be done by pouring approximately a half-gallon of water into each drain.
  • If smoke tests will be occurring in your neighborhood, properly cap all basement floor drains.
  • Please notify any elderly or handicap in your neighborhood to confirm they are aware of the testing.

Approximately 40% of the sanitary system is scheduled for inspection this year. Smoke tests will be conducted starting the 18th of August and ending the 19th of August, with testing limited to the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Prior to testing, a bulletin will be attached to your front door with the information listed above. Once you have received the bulletin you can expect testing to begin in your area the next day. Residents with questions or concerns regarding the smoke tests are asked to call McClure Engineering Company at (573) 814-1568.