Smoke Testing Next Week

December 13th thru 17th

Village of Athens is undertaking a study to identify and mitigate inflow and infiltration (I&I) in its sanitary sewer collection system. This study is being undertaken to help improve the efficiency of the Villages sewer collection infrastructure and wastewater treatment facility which ultimately allows the Village to control the operations and maintenance costs associated with this infrastructure. As part of this investigation the Village will perform smoke testing of select areas of the sanitary sewers in the Village during the week of December 13th

Smoke testing of sewers is a common method of locating sources of I&I in a sanitary collection system and involves blowing a harmless, non-toxic, non-hazardous, odorless, smoke into selected sewer manholes and sewer mains, and then reviewing the above ground areas for smoke. The smoke used is white, and dissipates quickly in the atmosphere.    

The plumbing in a typical residence connected to the Village’s sanitary sewer system has plumbing “traps” that prevent sewer gases from flowing from the sanitary sewer back into a residence. Similar to sewer gas, these plumbing traps prevent the smoke from the smoke testing from getting into your home.  A residence without such traps may temporarily observe white smoke in the residence during the smoke testing process. This is not very common, but does happen from time to time. If this happens to you, please do not panic. The best way to remove the smoke from your home is to open your windows and doors to ventilate the residence. Typically, the smoke will dissipate in less than 5 minutes. Remember, the smoke used during the testing is thin and white and not thick black, grey or brown. Heavy, thick black, grey or brown smoke is an indication of a fire and should be reported accordingly to emergency responders by calling 911. If in doubt, please call 911.  

The Village Engineers who will be assisting with the smoke testing have indicated that their experience is that most residents will never know the smoke testing has occurred on their street. We encourage residents to offer input regarding potential sources of I&I and to ask questions when the Village crews are performing the smoke testing. If you have specific concerns, please call the Village at (518) 945-1551. Your questions/concerns will be responded to by the Village DPW and Village Engineer.   

Thank you for your cooperation. 

Athens Village Board

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