Utility will use procedure to determine where clear water is entering sanitary sewer system
Residents of Port Washington’s west side may notice smoke wafting through their neighborhood in the coming weeks as the city tests its sanitary sewer system.
The testing will allow the city to determine where clear water enters the sanitary sewer system, Wastewater Supt. Dan Buehler said.
Many of the city’s older sewer pipes are clay, some of which are crumbling, allowing water to flow into the system, Buehler said.
This water is then pumped through the system and treated before being released, costing the city money and taking up capacity at the wastewater treatment plant, he said.
If the city can take measures to correct this inflow and infiltration of the sewer system, it can increase the life of its treatment plant, Buehler added.
Among the corrective measures the city can take is lining the existing sewer pipes, which essentially creates a new pipe inside the lines, he said.
During the testing by Strand Associates, smoke will be blown through manholes into the sewer system. In places where clearwater enters the sanitary sewers, the smoke will be able to escape.
Crew members walking along the route will see where the smoke appears, Buehler said.
Among the places where smoke may appear are roof drains, catch basins, foundation drains that are hooked into the sanitary system, cracks in the pavement above the sewers and even lawns, he said.
To prevent smoke from getting into houses, homeowners are asked to pour a bucket of water into floor drains, sinks and other plumbing fixtures that are not used regularly, Buehler said. This will fill the plumbing traps and prevent smoke from getting into homes.
If smoke does appear inside a house, residents are asked to contact the survey team in the area. The smoke will dissipate quickly if a window is opened.
The smoke used is not toxic, Buehler said. It is colorless, odorless and non-staining.
“It’s pretty much harmless,” he said.
The testing was expected to start Wednesday, continue through this week and conclude next Wednesday and Thursday on the city’s northwest side.
The area is bordered by Aster Street on the west side, Pine Cone and Woodland avenues on the north, Grand Avenue on the south and North Park Street on the south.
The following week, from Sept. 11 to 13, testing will be done on the southwest side of the city.
This area is bordered by Wildflower Circle on the west, Indigo Drive and Grand Avenue on the north, Fourth Avenue and Spring Street on the south and South Park Street on the east.
Anyone with questions is asked to call Buehler at 284-5051 or Phil Bzdusek of Strand Associates at (414) 305-9740.