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Sanitary sewer smoke testing scheduled for September and October

Post Date:09/12/2018 1:34 PM

The Village of Hoffman Estates will be conducting smoke testing of the sanitary sewer lines to fulfill requirements of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). Smoke testing takes place during dry conditions and will tentatively be conducted between September 18 and October 31, 2018, weather permitting. Door hangers will be issued approximately two to three days before smoke testing begins in an area. There will also be signs posted in the area the day the work will be done as a reminder. 

The program goals are to find and eliminate sources of storm/ground water that enter the sanitary sewer system during rain events, which can overload the sewers and potentially cause backups. This program is being mandated by the MWRDGC in order to reduce the amount of storm water entering the sanitary system and reduce the potential for backups. The consulting engineering firm of Baxter & Woodman, Inc. and RMS Utilities have been contracted by the Village to perform this work.

Smoke testing consists of filling the sanitary sewers with a non-toxic, non-flammable liquid smoke.  The smoke may be seen coming from sanitary sewer manholes, vent stacks located on the top of your home or other buildings, and areas where the sewers are potentially defective. This process requires access to the sanitary manholes located throughout the area. Technicians will be wearing yellow vests and will be seen walking around the front, side and back yards.

The smoke used will not leave a residue and should not enter your home unless you have a floor drain or bathroom fixture trap that has become dry due to lack of use; or have defective sewer piping that allows sewer gases to directly enter the home. The smoke testing will identify these potentially hazardous sources within the home. To reduce the risk of having smoke enter your house, pour one-half (1/2) gallon of water down each drain that has not been used within several months, including any floor drains in your basement. 

If smoke does enter your home, open some windows to dissipate the smoke. If smoke remains in the home, even though it’s non-toxic, you may choose to exit the home and contact the smoke testing crew that will be working nearby or call the number listed on the back of the door hangers. If you have any doubt whether smoke is coming from the smoke testing or from a fire, do not hesitate to call the Fire Department by dialing 911.

Smoke testing is a procedure that has been widely and safely used for many years and is an important tool used in controlling water pollution.  Your cooperation with this program is greatly appreciated. If you have questions regarding specifics of the upcoming work, please contact RMS Utility Services at (888) 655-4085. You may also contact the Public Works department at 847-490-6800.

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