Point prepares for ‘smoke testing’ of sewer lines

POINT PLEASANT — The City of Point Pleasant will be “smoke testing” its sewer system next month to check for leaks and other issues.

The testing will take place July 6-10 and was discussed at this week’s regular meeting of Point Pleasant City Council. The testing will take place in all areas of the city’s sewer system north of 11th Street, as well as the area immediately around Krodel Park. In the event of inclement weather, the smoke testing will continue into the following week.

City officials are wanting to get the word out about the testing to alleviate any concerns by residents who may see the harmless smoke drifting out of sewer lines, near homes or even in homes. The smoke should not enter someone’s home unless they have defective plumbing or dried up drain traps. Residents in the testing area are asked to ensure that all plumbing traps, including basement floor drains, are not dry and contain water. If residents have seldom used drains, pour water into the drain to fill the trap. If smoke would enter someone’s home through faulty plumbing, this indicates the possibility that dangerous sewer gases are also entering someone’s home and residents should consider contacting a professional plumber to make repairs.

Smoke will be blown into the sewer system at manholes and may be seen coming from roof vents, building foundations or manhole covers. The smoke is a non-toxic substance which is clean and harmless to humans, pets, food and material goods and creates no fire hazard.

Residents are asked to avoid unnecessary exposure to the smoke. Although the smoke is relatively harmless, smoke of any kind can be irritating to the nasal passage for some people. If residents experience smoke irritation, it should be temporary and quickly disappear after exposure has ceased, according to city officials.

If a resident, or any member of their family, have respiratory problems, are immobile or have any other health condition that the city should be aware of, contact officials at 304-675-2360.

Jonathan Owen, of the city’s engineering firm Burgess and Niple, was at this week’s city council meeting to explain the smoke testing process. He said in addition to identifying defects in the sewer lines, it also will identify ground or storm water entering the sanitary sewer system which then goes to the plant to be cleaned. This otherwise clean water gets cleaned again at the plant and is an unnecessary cost to the city.