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The original item was published from 2/13/2018 1:19:00 PM to 2/13/2018 2:44:30 PM.

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Water Management

Posted on: February 13, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Smoke Testing Near Downtown Durham

American Tobacco - Buchanan CCTV 11x17 2018_02_07

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2018

Sanitary Sewer Cleaning and Smoke Testing Planned Near Downtown

Non-Toxic, Non-Fire Hazard Vapor Helps Identify Defects in System

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DURHAM, N.C. – As part of routine efforts to identify and repair potential sanitary sewer system defects, the City of Durham Department of Water Management will begin cleaning, inspections, and smoke testing of sewer lines in the vicinity of Buchanan Boulevard and West Chapel Hill Street, beginning the week of February 19. Please note – this smoke is non-toxic and does not leave stains or residue. It is comparable to substances more commonly used in fog machines for entertainment purposes. It appears white to gray in color and has a slight fragrance. It is NOT a fire hazard.

Project work will include closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspections of pipes; removing jetted debris from and inspecting manholes; non-toxic dye testing to verify active sewer services; and non-toxic smoke testing of existing sewer infrastructure. Door hangers will be distributed by the City’s contractor, Hydrostructures, seven days in advance of any smoke testing.

The smoke testing process involves forcing smoke into a gravity sewer line via the manhole using an air blower. The intent is for smoke to seep through and assist to visually identify the locations of any holes, cracks, or other defects in the sewer line. Smoke could appear at any point in the system where there is an open break in the line, such as storm drains, sewer cleanouts, manholes, and roof vents. Smoke may also escape through homes, offices, yards, or anywhere poor plumbing exists. Smoke entering a home or building during this testing may indicate a problem with the plumbing. The City is not responsible for plumbing located on private property.

Water Management has partnered with Kimley-Horn and Hydrostructures to perform the testing. Hydrostructures recommends pouring a gallon of water into sinks, tubs, and floor drains not subject to everyday use. This will fill p-traps and help prevent smoke from entering the building. Occupants do not have to be present during testing.

If you have concern before or during the testing, please contact Kimley-Horn’s Nolan Raney at (919) 653-6625 or [email protected]. For other questions about this project, please contact the Department of Water Management’s Corrie Bondar at (919) 560-4381 ext. 35252 or [email protected]. General information about active Water Management projects is available online at

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