Smoke to be used in tests on city sewer lines

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2004

[10/12/2004]] Crews will begin Wednesday morning using smoke to test sewer lines along U.S. 61 South for leaks and make repairs.

Don Womack, superintendent of utilities for Vicksburg, said workers will be blowing a nontoxic, white smoke into storm sewers and sanitary sewer lines near Cedar Hills Estate. He said that by watching for places where the smoke comes out of the ground, they can identify leaks and broken lines.

“This is part of the mayor and board of aldermen’s ongoing project to upgrade the city’s utility lines,” Womack said.

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Womack, who took over supervision of the city’s utility departments a month ago, said he has used this process in other areas to identify leaks, but that it has been years since it was done here.

He said they can also use small television cameras to look for leaks.

Plans are to start in a small test area on U.S. 61 South, but Womack said that eventually they plan to test the entire city sewer system this way. The process can also identify leaks on private property where home and business owners will be notified if there is a problem.

“It’s just as beneficial to the property owners as it is to the city,” Womack said.

He said one of the reasons for testing the lines is to identify leaks in the sanitary sewer system that is allowing rain water into the water treatment plant. Usually, storm sewer runoff is not treated through the sewer plant.

The process will involve using a machine to blow smoke into manholes while blocking storm sewer grates and looking for escaping smoke.

Womack said the smoke will dissipate after about 5 minutes.