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The City treats a large amount of “clear water” that does not require treatment. Examples of this include rainwater and sump pump discharges. High volumes can overwhelm the existing system and cause basement backups, sanitary sewer overflows, quality of treatment concerns and increased operational costs. Smoke testing is a means to locate areas where this “clear water” is making its way into the system. A liquid smoke product is vaporized and forced into a length of sanitary sewer pipe that has been temporarily plugged on either end. Air pressure carrying the smoke product will flow into all areas that are hooked into the sanitary system. If your home is plumbed correctly, only the vent stack should show signs of smoke.
If you have a respiratory or other health condition, it may be wise to move outdoors while smoke testing is occurring. This should be no longer than 20 minutes. If there is any other special circumstances, please contact the Collections Operator at (262) 473-0560 prior to September 9. If you will be gone for the day and pets are home it is a good idea to leave some windows open slightly and run a fan if desired. The liquid smoke product used is non-toxic and a scientific evaluation report along with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is available for review on the City’s website.
If you have any unused or lightly used drains in your home it is wise to pour approximately one (1) gallon of water down those fixtures. This will fill up the drain trap, which will prevent smoke from coming into your home. An example of this would be an old wash sink or basement floor drain.
Please contact a member of the smoke testing crew in your area to report your findings. After this, it is recommended you contact a licensed plumber to repair any deficiencies found during smoke testing. If smoke is finding its way into your home during this inspection, it means that sewer gas is also able to make its way into your home as well.
No, you do not need to be home but you may want to leave a kitchen and bath window slightly ajar to increase ventilation in your home.
Wastewater Utility staff has discussed the upcoming testing with Police and Fire Department officials. Residential homeowners and businesses in the testing area will be receiving notifications. In addition, all schools, assisted living complexes and department stores have been notified in person. Information and links have been posted via Public Service Announcement (PSA) outlets, Facebook, the City of Whitewater website and the Whitewater Banner.
A map has been created to show residents and business owners the area that will be tested.
Please direct questions to the Wastewater Utility at (262) 473-0560. Staff is available Monday-Friday from 7:00am - 3:30pm.