Smoke testing and manhole sealing program planned to identify sewerage defects

A smoke testing and manhole sealing program is planned to identify any residential or commercial plumbing defects that may be allowing unwanted stormwater to enter Council’s sewer system.

Council endorsed a recommendation to commence the program from 15 April 2019 after sections of the sewerage network experienced rapid spikes in water infiltration during recent heavy rainfall events.

Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Nick Wellwood said the program would allow Council to avoid costly repairs or clean ups down the track.

“Stormwater can be introduced to the sewer network through broken pipes, damaged house connections, unauthorised connections and through the illegal lifting of sewer manhole lids,” Mr. Wellwood said.

“This influx of water places significant load on the sewerage network and can cause sewage overflows.

“It also increases costs to Council to pump and process this water through our wastewater treatment plants, which in turn increases costs for electricity, chemicals and the maintenance of this infrastructure.”

Under the program, Council officers will pump smoke through the sewer lines and monitor its release from individual properties to identify damaged pipes as well as defective and unauthorised connections to the sewerage system.

The smoke, which is derived by heating high-grade food oil, is not harmful to humans or animals.

Mr. Wellwood said residents within the identified program areas will be contacted prior to the testing.

“Affected residents will receive a formal notification letter approximately two weeks before the testing is scheduled to begin.

“Inspectors will also be carrying out door knocks the day prior to the testing and will be leaving flyers at unattended residences.

“Where we identify any defects, we will notify the affected property owners of our findings and of any obligations on Council or the resident to carry out repairs.”

Residents are asked to ensure pets are restrained on the day of testing for the safety of Council staff and pets.

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