2.5.19 ‒2.19.19 ‒ vol. 15

Area Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Scheduled for January 21, 2019

The Village of Pelham is in the process of conducting a Sanitary Sewer Investigation at the Colonial Elementary School. The purpose of the study is to determine locations where excess rainwater (inflow) and groundwater (infiltration) may be entering the sewer pipes and manholes.


As part of the study, personnel working with the consulting firm retained by the Village will release a non-toxic and non-staining smoke into several manholes and pipelines in the area of the Colonial Elementary School, which will travel through portions of the sanitary sewer system. These smoke tests will detect any breaks, leaks, or cross-connections in the sewer system and assist with the development of a proper remediation plan, where necessary. During the test, smoke may be discharged from roof vents, building foundations, catch basins, clean-outs, down spouts, sewer laterals, and manhole covers. The smoke will not enter your home or business if it is properly plumbed, vented, and the water traps contain water.


Because the plumbing fixtures in your home or building are connected to the sanitary sewer system, some smoke may enter your home or place of business if the following conditions exist:


Vents connected to your building's sewer pipes are inadequate, defective, or improperly installed;


Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing;


Pipes, connections and seals of the wastewater drain system in and under your buildings are damaged, defective, are improperly installed, or have plugs missing.

If you have a downstairs bathroom or laundry that is used infrequently, we recommend flushing the toilet and / or running the faucet water briefly to refill any dried (empty) plumbing traps that could allow smoke into your home. This should be done prior to the smoke test date of January 21, 2018.


Residents are advised that if traces of this smoke or its odor enter your house or building, it is an indication that gases and odors from the sewer may also enter. These can be both unpleasant and pose a health risk to the occupants.  Should smoke enter your home or business, you may contact a member of the smoke testing crew working in your area. Additionally, you are advised to open a window or door for ventilation, note the location of the smoke, and contact a qualified plumber. Anyone with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions should not stay in a building, where smoke has entered, as a precautionary measure.


Your presence is not required during the tests, and public safety authorities (Police and Fire) have been notified where testing will be conducted. Work will occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. It is anticipated that the work will be completed within one (1) day.


You can learn more about sewer smoke testing on the web by using any search engine, using the phrase, “sewer smoke testing”. Thank you in advance for your cooperation during this evaluation of important Village infrastructure.


Should you encounter smoke in or around your home, building or property, or have any general questions or concerns, you are advised to contact the Village Building Department at (914) 738-2258.


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