Annual testing of Harrisonburg’s sanitary sewer system:
Field personnel with the Public Utilities Department will release a non-toxic and non-staining test smoke into the manholes, which will travel through the sanitary sewer system. The purpose of this testing is to detect any breaks or leaks in the city’s system and make appropriate repairs, if necessary.
The City has a total of 190 miles of sewer lines and a portion of those lines are tested each year.
Residents should expect to see smoke being released from plumbing vents, which are located on the roof top. Smoke being released from these vents is a clear indication of a properly installed pluming system.
Tips for residents:
- It is recommended to pour one gallon of water into the drain traps of floors, sinks, showers and tubs. This will prevent sewer gases or smoke from entering a home or business.
- If the non-toxic smoke enters a residence or business, this is a sign of a defect in the plumbing. When this occurs, there is no need to contact emergency services. 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.
Questions? Contact the Public Utilities Department at 540-434-9959.