Water authority smoke testing sewer lines

The Louisa County Water Authority will begin smoke testing the sanitary sewer collection system in the Zion Crossroads service area the week of March 30 through April 3. It will do the same in the Louisa service area April 6 through April 10.

Smoke testing involves blowing a harmless, nontoxic, odorless smoke throughout the sewer collection system in order to locate broken pipes, manholes and sewer cleanouts that may have been damaged since the last smoke testing was conducted in the fall of 2017 and any illegal connections with stormwater drainage systems.

It is normal for the smoke to discharge from plumbing vents on your roof. It is not normal for smoke to enter a residence or business through the plumbing system. However, if the storm system is connected to the sanitary system or your plumbing is faulty or your drain and sink traps are dry, the smoke may enter through your plumbing. 

Please make sure water is in all floor drains, sinks, wash tubs and shower/bath fixtures in your residence or business.

If smoke is detected in your home or building during the test, open your doors and leave the building until the smoke has cleared. The smoke will disappear quickly with proper ventilation. The presence of smoke in your home or building should be reported immediately to the authority business office by calling 540-967-1122. Remember, if the smoke has a pathway into your home or business, sewer gases have a pathway into your home or business. 

Although the smoke is harmless, nontoxic and odorless, avoid unnecessary exposure to the smoke. Some folks may be more sensitive to the smoke causing irritation to eyes and nasal passages. Any irritation caused by the smoke will be temporary and should quickly disappear after exposure has ceased. It is recommended that persons with heart and respiratory ailments leave the building during the test as a precaution. Pets should not be left in your home unattended during the testing unless proper ventilation is provided.  Your presence will not be required during the testing process. All public safety authorities have been notified. We would appreciate if you would mention this notice to your neighbors to prevent needless concern.   

Once defects have been identified, water authority maintenance personnel will be making repairs to the collection system. If a defect like a broken cleanout is located on your property, you will receive a letter with a timeframe for repairing the defect. If the defect is not repaired, the authority will make the repairs and forward a bill to your residence or business for payment.

If you should have any additional questions or problems, please call Pam Baughman, water authority general manager, at 540-967-1122.

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