Sewers Tested With Smoke in Lakeside Neighborhood

Amy Adamle
October 12, 2017 10:50 PM

Smoke tests are being performed in the Lakeside neighborhood for the next couple weeks.  The City of Duluth hired MSA Professional Services to perform them.  

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For the city, the smoke test will help find the answer to a problem, but for Lakeside residents it's causing a bit of confusion. 

"I'm kind of wondering how it's going to happen myself," Allen Noska, a resident of Lakeside, said.  "How are they going to detect the smoke or where it's leaking from?"

The reason for this smoke test, to find where storm water may be going into the sewer system  Using this test actually makes it simpler for the workers to find the source. 

"We'll put in the machine, it pressurizes the sewer system and creates a smoke, and then it goes throughout the system," Phillip Lockett, with MSA Professional Services, said.  "It will come out through the house vents and if there's any problem, either it will end up in the house or if there's a broken line outside the house or in the main lines, you'll see smoke coming up through the ground." 

The smoke in the house is a warning to homeowners.

"They most likely have some sort of problem in their plumbing," Lockett said.  "They don't have the proper trap to keep the sewer gases from coming into the house."

If there's smoke coming into the house, the homeowner will be responsible for fixing it, but if it comes through the storm sewer, that's something the city will have to worry about.

"We help them identify that and we'll contact them after our testing and to see how to go about fixing it," Lockett said.  "Hopefully we won't find any problems, but if they're there, we'll find them."

Fixing the problem will be beneficial to the entire Duluth community.  

"I think it's good," Noska said.  It shows that they're trying to minimize the amount of freshwater entering the waste water to save the lake."

If you do see smoke, they say to immediately pour water down the drain it's coming from.  If you can't determine the source, call the fire department.

They're expecting the project to take two weeks, but their timeline depends on weather and traffic in the area.


Amy Adamle

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