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Smoke rising from your sink? It's just a test

Don't panic if you see smoke wafting from your sink over the next few months.

Field crews will be conducting smoke testing of portions of the wastewater collection system throughout Largo. The crews will be opening manholes in the streets and in utility easements in yards, and injecting smoke into the wastewater lines and manholes to locate broken pipes and other defects.

White smoke will exit from the vent pipes on the roofs of houses. The smoke is nontoxic, leaves no residue and creates no fire hazard. The smoke will not enter your house unless there is defective plumbing present or the drain traps are dry.

To help prevent smoke from entering your house, pour about a gallon of water into any seldom used drains. Doing this will fill the drain traps. At no time will the field crews need to enter your house, and you do not need to be at home during the test.

About one week before the start of smoke testing in your area, public notice fliers will be distributed to every home and business within the area. Information collected during this study will be used to improve and repair the Largo wastewater collection system.

If you have any questions concerning this study, please call the city of Largo's engineering division at (727) 587-6713.

Answers to some common questions

What is the purpose of smoke testing?

Smoke testing is a common procedure used to detect leaks in plumbing and sanitary sewer systems. During testing, plumes of smoke may form where there are potential defects in the sanitary sewer system. Smoke may be seen coming from manhole covers, roof drain connections, or even from holes in the ground above where an underground sewer line is located.

Is the smoke harmful?

No. The smoke used is clean, nontoxic, and completely harmless to humans, animals, food and any material goods such as clothing, drapes or furniture. The smoke creates no fire hazard.

What do you do if the smoke gets into your home or business?

Contact the crew working in the area. Open windows for ventilation. When you receive notice that smoke testing will take place, you should check to see that all traps under basins, washing facilities and floor drains have water in them.

I will not be at home during the smoke testing and have pets in the house. What should I do?

The smoke is not harmful to pets. If you have proper connections and all of the traps have water in them, there should not be any problems.

Can smoke block my sewer line?

No. The smoke is made up of a vaporous substance.

What happens if you find a bad sewer or lack of traps in a
building?

This information will be documented and a determination made as to what steps are necessary to remedy the problem.

Times staff writer

Smoke rising from your sink? It's just a test 04/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:25am]
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