RE: Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing
Your neighborhood has experienced increased sewer overflows in the past due to excessive rain and groundwater entering and overloading the sewer system. The City has recently completed a project that increased the capacity of the sewer line and greatly reduced the sewer overflows. However, Public Works still needs to conduct smoke testing on sewer lines in the area to help identify and eliminate problems that allow rain and groundwater to enter the lines. This testing will begin June 5, 2017 and continue for approximately two months. Please refer to the attached map and dates to see when your area will be tested.
The following tasks should be completed before your area is tested:
- Make sure all drain traps and plumbing fixtures have water in them. Fill seldom used drains (such as floor drains, garage sinks, etc.) with water by running the faucet for 30 to 60 seconds or filling the drain with approximately 3 cups of water.
- Prepare drains as soon as you receive this smoke testing notice, this only needs to be done once before testing begins.
- Smoke should not enter your home. However, if it does this, it could be an indication of a defect in the plumbing system of your home. This defect could allow sewer gases to enter inside your home, which is a potential health hazard. Corrections of such defects on private property are the responsibility of the property owner, and a licensed plumber should be consulted to ensure the proper corrections are made. If smoke does enter your home or building, please notify the field technicians who are conducting the test.
- You do not need to be home during the smoke testing field work.
We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process. Please refer to the Red Oak Public Works Department website at www.redoaktx.org for project updates, maps and more information. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works at 972-576-3414.
Public Works Director
Q: What Exactly is a Smoke Test?
A: A crew from the City of Red Oak Public Works Department (ROPW) will use a high-capacity blower technique to test each sewer line with smoke. Smoke blowers are placed on manholes and smoke is blown through the sewer system. Any location where smoke is identified during the test, except plumbing vent stacks, is a potential I/I source for stormwater to enter the sewer system. These locations will be documented via pictures and sketches.
Q: What is the Benefit to the City for Performing a Smoke Test?
A: Smoke testing is one technique utilized to identify sections of sewers that may exhibit inflow during heavy rainfall. Smoke testing is best used to detect inflow sources such as roof downspouts, driveway, yard and area drain, foundation drains, faulty connections, and stormwater drainage system cross-connections. It can also detect structural damages and leaking joints in sewer pipes.
Q: How Will Residents Know When Smoke Testing Will be Performed in Their Neighborhood?
A: Prior to beginning the smoke testing, ROPW will give notices to all homes/buildings on the streets to be smoke tested at least 24 to 48 hours in advance. For smoke, testing schedules Navigate to our Schedule tab on this page. For planned smoke testing areas, please visit navigate to the Area Map tab of this page.
Q: How are City Crews Recognizable in the Field?
A: ROPW personnel are uniformed and carry identification badges. Crew members operate from vehicles with proper signage for ease of recognition.
Q: Is the Smoke that is Used Hazardous?
A: The smoke that comes out of the vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground is non-toxic, harmless. It does not create a fire hazard. Red Oak Fire and Police will be made aware of the test areas and schedule.
Q: Do the Residents Need to do Anything to Prepare Their Homes for Smoke Testing?
A: Plumbing drain traps need to be filled with water to prevent the smoke from entering the building. Run the faucet for 30-60 seconds or pour about 3 cups of water in the floor and sink drains, filling the traps. Make sure to check seldom used floor drains and plumbing fixtures in your home. If the smoke does enter, the resident should consult a licensed plumber. If smoke from the testing can enter through faulty plumbing, the potential exists for dangerous sewer gases to also enter the home.
Q: Does the Resident Need to be Home When the Smoke Testing is Performed?
A: Homeowners do not need to be home and at no time will field crews need to enter the residence. Field inspectors will be documenting the testing, taking photos, and measuring distances so that the defects may be found at a later date and repaired.
Q: What happens after the smoke testing has been completed?
A: ROPW will notify residents who need to make corrections with a letter explaining the nature of the defect found, ways to correct it, and a list of licensed sewer contractors who can make corrections if need be. Again, most corrections can be easy fixes, such as disconnecting a downspout from the ground and letting the water flow above ground away from the home.
Dates and the Affected Areas
June 4th through June 16th
Bluebird Lane and Dove Lane
June 19th through June 30th
Easement between Bluebird Lane and Butterfly Street
July 3rd through July 14th
Easement Between Butterfly Street and Sunflower. Easement south of Butterfly Street.
July 17th through July 28th
Easement Between Sunflower and Bluebonnet. Easement South of Sunflower.
July 30th through August 11th
Easement Between Mulberry Court and Bluebonnet. Easement between Bluebonnet and Sycamore Court, Rosewood Court, Honeysuckle Court, Foliage Court, Cypress Court, and Aspen Court.
August 14th through August 25th
Easement Between Aspen Court and Mulberry Court. West of Hickory Creek Drive.