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Posted on: July 23, 2019

Smoke testing to start on Aug. 12

smoke testing

Sewer line testing in section of Murphy starts Aug. 12

Called ‘smoke testing’ the procedure does not involve smoke

MURPHY (July 23, 2019) Starting on Monday, Aug. 12 and likely lasting until the end of the month, the City of Murphy will be conducting tests of the sanitary sewer lines using a mixture that resembles smoke, but is odorless, non-toxic and dissipates quickly.

“We’re looking for defects, fissures, openings, cracks, and any other problems in the sewer lines,” says Public Services Director Tim Rogers.  “The main sewer lines, just like the sewer pipes in drains and toilets inside homes, should maintain their structural integrity to avoid leakage, and to prevent the introduction of rainwater or other substances which may cause blockages.”     

The area targeted for testing is inside the parameters formed by North Murphy Road on the west, McCreary Road on the east, FM 544 on the south, and McMillan Road on the north.  Testing of the several miles of sewer lines contained in the targeted area starts at 8 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. each weekday, unless inclement weather or other factors intercede.    

Called “smoke testing,” technicians force a specially-formulated mist that uses moisture from the atmosphere into the lines and observe for the tell-tale wafting of the vapor.  If leaks are identified, a work order will be issued to investigate the leaks further and repair them as soon as possible.

“In some rare cases, residents may see the smoke coming out of infrequently-used sinks, or in worse cases, from sewer service lines from the home to the street connector,” said Rogers.  “Smoke from sinks generally means that the gas trap, the u-shaped pipe under the sink, is empty and running a little water is enough.  As always, leaks, cracks and fissures on public property are our responsibility, but leaks, cracks and fissures on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.”                   

A licensed plumber should be contracted if smoke is observed within the home or business.  Smoke emanating from overflow pipes on the home’s or business’s roof is normal and not cause for alarm.

Testing of sewer lines using this technique is endorsed by the US Environmental Protection Agency and has been in use for over two decades.  The smoke will not harm children, pets, plants or elderly persons, and if detected within the home, a few open windows will dissipate it promptly.

Questions and answers on the procedure are posted on www.murphytx.org in the Public Works page.  Questions can also be directed to the Public Works Department at 972-468-4378.

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