Sewer Testing in Northgate goes Up in Smoke

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas Plenty of smoke, but no fire. For the next week or so, crews in College Station will be pumping smoke through the sewer lines in Northgate.

"Basically, what we're doing is simulated rainfall," said Gerald Kubica with Interra Hydro. "Because anywhere this smoke can come up, rain can come in."

Interra Hydro is the contractor working with College Station.

It's one way to test sewer lines and their access points. Rain is something you don't want inside a sewer line.

"The more of this they can stop, the more efficient they can run their waste water plant," said Kubica. "Because that's less water they have to treat after each rain."

Crews are also searching for any leaks along the line.

Each defect is logged and photographed. The information helps city officials plan for future projects.

Ed Savage with College Station Water Services said since Northgate is the original part of College Station, it was a good place to start with the testing.

"Our oldest infrastructure that we maintain is obviously here in Northgate," said Savage.

With about eight miles of sewer lines in the Northgate area alone, Hydro crews have their work cut out for them. Kubica said he and his partner walk about five miles per day, covering 4,000 to 15,000 feet of ground.

"You have to walk around every building, you have to go between all of them," said Kubica. "It ends up being three to four times the amount of footage as what you actually smoke test."

Savage said the smoke testing is a small part of a larger project contract..

"There's flow monitoring, dry and wet weather flow monitoring, and also closed circuit television inspection, which is a camera study of the interior of our pipelines," said Savage.

In some cases during the smoke phase, you may see smoke coming out of roof gutters. Dave Coleman with Water services said If you do, your drains are likely somehow connected to the sanitary sewer system and must be fixed.

You're urged to give the water services department a call at 855-528-4278.

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