City of Sequim to resume smoke tests of sewers

Throughout August the City of Sequim Public Works Department will resume testing the sanitary sewers with smoke to find defects, breaks, leaks and faulty connections in the sewer system. The tests will occur west of Third Avenue to the western city limits, from Hendrickson Road on the north to Brownfield Road on the south. The city began the smoke testing program last summer.


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


If your neighborhood is to be tested, notify Utilities Manager Pete Tjemsland or Public Works (683-4908 or if there is an individual in your building, business or residence who has respiratory problems and/or mobility limitations.


Testing involves opening manholes and filling the sewer lines with non-toxic smoke. It is not harmful to your health but may cause some coughing. Smoke irritation is temporary and should disappear after exposure has ceased. When possible avoid unnecessary exposure to simulated smoke.


There is no need for the testing crew to enter any homes or building.


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.


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. There is no need for alarm. The smoke has no odor, is nontoxic, nonstaining, does not create a fire hazard and will dissipate in a few minutes.


If residents see smoke in their building, they should open the doors and windows to ventilate the premises and to clear smoke. They also 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.


If you experience smoke in your house or from vents in your home and did not have a flier on your door or A-frame sign visible on your block, call 9-1-1. The Clallam County Fire District, 9-1-1 dispatch and city police will be notified of the testing and will be updated throughout the test period of testing locations.


Simulated smoke will not stain walls or furniture and will not leave a residue. The chemical make-up of the smoke compound can be found on the City of Sequim website or by contacting the Public Works Department at 683-4908.


At any time during these tests, feel free to ask questions of the Public Works employees conducting the test in your neighborhood or call Tjemsland at 683-4908.


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