Planned ‘smoke’ testing to start next week

October 13, 2021

Recent rains have pushed back the planned “smoke” testing on wastewater lines located in the northeast and southwest sub-basins of the city. Testing in the two quadrants was set to begin Monday but will now start next week, weather permitting, Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen said Monday.

Lauritsen said the testing is used to help determine defects in the system.

“This is a tool that we use to identify defects in the wastewater collection system as well as in private service lines that connect to that system,” he said, noting that the goal of the testing is to eliminate inflow and infiltration in the City’s wastewater system.

“Our system is not what they call a ‘dual system’; it’s only designed to carry wastewater flows,” he said. “Storm water infiltration kind of wreaks havoc with that in that it overwhelms the capacity of the system and creates backups and some other things that result from it.”

Once the defects have been identified, the City will pursue capital funding to address the problems, he said.

The testing will be conducted in two areas of the city, beginning in the Maple sub-basin area which includes the areas south of 14th Street and west of Santa Fe Avenue.

“It will take us about two weeks to conduct testing in that area and then we’ll move to the Nebraska sub-basin, located in the northeast quadrant of the city,” Lauritsen said.

The testing will be conducted by City staff in conjunction with local company CSI.

“Citizens might notice City employees and CSI staff monitoring smoke that could be coming from various locations including homes, yards and the storm drainage system,” he said. “We try to limit this to about three or four blocks at a time, and residents will be notified before testing begins in their area.”