Public Utilities has contracted with Hydrostructures and RJN Group to conduct testing and surveying of the City's sanitary sewer system. You may notice Hydrostructures or RJN Group crews in your neighborhood. In an effort to locate defects in the sanitary sewer system, they will be performing smoke testing, manhole inspections, dye testing, night flow evaluations and CCTV inspections of the public sewer system in streets and easements. In areas where the crews will be working, notices will be left at residences and businesses several days prior. Your presence is not required during the work.
Don't be alarmed if you see smoke rising from manholes in the street or from the ground. Where there's smoke, there's not always fire. Sanitary sewer pipes run under the ground, so it's not easy to determine if one needs to be repaired. Smoke testing is a procedure used to detect leaks in plumbing and sanitary sewer systems. Smoke testing involves forcing HARMLESS smoke into the sanitary sewer system through manholes. The smoke is NON-TOXIC, CLEAN, HARMLESS TO HUMANS, PETS, FOOD AND MATERIAL GOODS, and CREATES NO FIRE HAZARD. Please review the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the Hurco Liquid Smoke
and the Lubspar Oil Smoke
that are used during testing; if you have any questions please let us know. During testing, plumes of smoke form where there are potential defects in the sanitary sewer system. By watching to see where smoke escapes, crews can identify problem areas in the pipes for further sanitary sewer investigation techniques. Smoke may be seen coming from manhole covers, storm inlets, or holes in the ground. On occasion, smoke may be seen coming from building foundations or roof vent stacks. However, the smoke should not enter your home or business unless you have defective plumbing or dried-up drain traps. If you have any seldom used drains, pouring water into the drain to fill the trap will help prevent sewer gases or odors and smoke from entering your home or business.
All public safety authorities have been notified. If you have any questions, please call the following Virginia Beach Public Utilities Engineers:
Steve Poe, P.E.
Katherine Nixon, P.E.