Smoking sewers Hood River

This map graphic depicts the sewer lines that will be smoke tested in Hood River Aug. 12-13.

Hood River — City of Hood River residents could be smelling strange odors and seeing smoke associated with their household plumbing and the city sewer system during daylight hours Aug. 12-13 as city utility crews “smoke test” the system, according to a press release from the city’s utility department.

The City of Hood River Utilities Department will conduct sanitary sewer system smoke testing on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 12-13 to gain information for future sewer improvements.

Community members may notice a distinct odor that results from this testing.

The smoke testing will involve opening and entering manholes in the streets and public utility easements to blow smoke into the sewer system and will occur between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The testing is used to locate breaks and defects in the sewer system and will also reveal points where storm and other surface water enter the sewer system. Information gathered will be used in the city’s 10-year Water/Sewer Pipe Reconstruction Project.

A special non-toxic smoke that leaves no residuals or stains and has no effect on plant or animal life will be used. The smoke has a distinctive odor that lasts only a few minutes where ventilation is adequate.

Because plumbing appliances in homes or buildings are connected to the sanitary sewer system, some smoke may enter buildings.

If the smoke does enter your home, sewer gas can also enter.

The test smoke — and sewer gas — can enter a home when:

• Vents connected to your building’s sewer pipes are inadequate, defective or improperly installed.

• Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing.

• Pipes, connections and seals of the wastewater drain system in and under your buildings are damaged, defective, have plugs missing or are improperly installed.

Sewer gases can be “both unpleasant and dangerous, as well as a health risk to the occupants,” the press release stated.

Should smoke enter your home or business, contact a member of the smoke testing crew working in your area. A crew member can then help you identify where the smoke has entered your building.

Location, identification and correction of the source of smoke that enters your building is urgently advised.

To reduce the chance of smoke entering your home/business, pour at least five gallons of water down any infrequently used drain such as a floor drain or unused sink a few days before the start of the test period. This will fill up the trap and reduce that potential point of entry.

For questions or concerns, contact City Project Manager Rich Rice at 541-436-3510.