The Bloomington Public Works Department has announced that special testing of certain parts of the sewer system will begin July 11. When it rains in Bloomington, a large amount of storm water enters the sanitary sewer and goes to the water treatment plant. This causes the potential for overloading the sewer system and takes up capacity at the treatment plant. In order to locate cracks, joints, or holes that allow storm water to enter the sewer, Public Works staff and crews from Orchard Hiltz & McCliment, Inc. and Foth, LLC will conduct “smoke testing” for approximately three weeks, weather permitting.
Residents and businesses in the affected areas will be notified by hanging tags on doors approximately one day before smoke testing begins. Crews in the testing areas will have marked vehicles and identification.
Testing will primarily be focused on the sewers east of Veterans Parkway. The sanitary sewer system east of Veterans Parkway is a separated system, meaning sewage flows into the sanitary sewer and goes to the treatment plant, while storm water enters the storm sewer and flows to area creeks and detention basins.
Smoke testing involves blowing smoke through the sanitary sewers to pinpoint deficiencies in the system. During the testing procedure, residents may see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings, holes in the ground, or downspouts. The smoke varies in color from white to gray. It is non-toxic, non-staining, has no odor, and creates no fire hazard. The smoke leaves no residue and is not harmful to people, pets or plants.
The smoke testing should not have any adverse effect on homes, businesses or sanitary sewer service. Residents do not need to be present during the testing. When notice is received that testing will be conducted, building and home occupants are asked to pour water down ALL the drains, especially seldom used drains and floor drains in basements, slab floors, and garages. Smoke can enter a building through a drain if the trap is not filled.
This work is a required step to meet obligations with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District (BNWRD). Removing sources of unwanted storm water will help reduce high flow rates to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, thereby lowering treatment costs and environmental impact.
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or contact the Bloomington Public Works Department at: (309) 434-2225.