Sequim sewers to get smoke test

The City of Sequim Public Works Department will be testing the sanitary sewers with smoke in August and September to find defects, breaks, leaks and faulty connections in the sewer system.

Neighborhoods and individual properties will be notified in advance when smoke testing will take place in specific areas. Residents should look for bright pink door hangers and green and blue A-frame board signs in their neighborhoods with the specific dates for testing in their vicinity.

Testing involves opening manholes and filling the sewer lines with nontoxic smoke. During the tests residents may see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings or from holes in the ground such as manhole covers, storm drains and building foundations. If residents see smoke, there is no need for alarm. The smoke has no odor, is nontoxic and nonstaining, does not create a fire hazard and will dissipate in a few minutes. There is no need for the testing crew to enter any homes or buildings.The Public Works Department recommends that residents flush all toilets and run water down all sinks, tubs and laundry drains before the first day of the testing period to make sure that all drain traps contain enough water to prevent smoke from entering the building through the drains.

If residents see smoke in their building, they should open the doors and windows to ventilate the premises and to clear smoke. Simulated smoke will not stain walls or furniture and it will not leave a residue.

 Simulated smoke is not harmful but may cause some coughing. Smoke irritation is temporary and should disappear after exposure has ceased. When possible, avoid unnecessary exposure to simulated smoke.

 Prior to the testing, notify Public Works Utilities Manager Pete Tjemsland or Public Works (both 683-4908) if there is an individual in your building, business or residence who has respiratory problems and/or mobility limitations.

If residents do see smoke in their building while the test is ongoing, they should consult a licensed plumber in the near future to identify the smoke access area, as the potential exists for sewer gases to enter the building in the same manner.

Residents who experience smoke in a house or from vents in a home but did not have a flier on the door or an A-frame sign visible on their block should call 9-1-1.

 At any time during these tests, Public Works employees conducting the test are ready to answer residents’ questions. The Clallam County Fire District, 9-1-1 dispatch center and city police will be notified of the testing and will be updated throughout the test period of testing locations.

 The chemical make-up of the smoke compound can be found on the City of Sequim website, Residents with questions about the sanitary sewer smoke testing should call Tjemsland at 683-4908 or e-mail

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