News Releases

3. City News Releases 2022

Posted on: July 13, 2022

Sewer smoke testing in Ravenwood, Prairie View Heights subdivisions planned July 25-29


SmokeTest_webCity of Springfield Environmental Services will perform sanitary sewer smoke testing in portions of the Ravenwood and Prairie View Heights subdivisions the week of July 25 (weather dependent).

Smoke testing is conducted to help locate leaks in the sanitary sewer system. Harmless, odorless smoke is blown into sewer manholes in the street, goes through the pipes and comes out where there are broken pipes and where roof downspouts, outside area drains, or foundation drains are connected to the sanitary sewers. 

Smoke testing in the Lake Springfield 01 (LS01) Sanitary Sewer Basin, encompassing most of the Ravenwood subdivision, is scheduled July 25-28 (weather dependent). Boundaries of the testing area correspond with a sanitary sewer basin that flows via pipe networks near Lake Springfield. The basin is located roughly between Reed Avenue (east) and Fremont Avenue (west), and between Vincent Street (south) and James River Freeway (north). 

Testing in Prairie View Heights is expected July 28-29 (weather dependent) in a small section of the subdivision located nearby the City’s Prairie View Sanitary Sewer Lift Station. The testing boundaries lie roughly between Farm Road 131 (east) and Prairie View Avenue (west), and between Weaver Road (south) and Randall Street (north). 

The smoke testing program is part of the City’s Private Sewer Repair Program which provides voluntary plumbing evaluations to fix potential defects on private property at no cost to the property owner. The program is one element of the City’s $300 million Supplemental Overflow Control Plan to continue reducing sanitary sewer overflows in Springfield’s aging sewer system over the next 15 years. The City’s original Overflow Control Plan was approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 2015 with the supplemental plan approved in 2021. 

How does smoke testing work?

Colorless, odorless chemical smoke is blown into sewer manholes in the street, travels through the pipes and comes out where there are leaks in the sewer system. Crews walking along each property watch for smoke coming out of yards or gutters and collect data of any location where a potential defect is detected. The smoke is non-toxic and does not create a fire hazard. 

In the days ahead of a test, residents in the testing area are notified via door hangers educating them about the upcoming test and providing a contact number to the field technician conducting the test. Flashing message signs are often posted along major roadways to notify motorists that a smoke test is in progress. Testing days and locations are also communicated to 911 dispatchers, the Police Department and the Fire Department in case they receive calls. 

Following smoke testing, residents and property owners within the testing boundaries will receive follow-up information about the City’s Private Sewer Repair Program. This will include the opportunity to schedule a voluntary plumbing evaluation to fix potential defects at no cost to the property owner. 

Smoke Testing Tips:  

• You do not need to be home when the smoke testing is performed. Field inspectors will be noticeably documenting and taking photos during the smoke test, so the defects detected may be found and repaired at a later date. 

• All smoke testing crew members are uniformed and carry identification badges. They will travel in clearly marked vehicles.  

• Occasionally, but rarely, smoke may enter your home or business through an infrequently used floor, shower or sink drain. To prevent this, pour 24 ounces of water into all drains a few days prior to the test. This will restore a normal water level in your plumbing traps and prohibit smoke from entering. 

• If you notice smoke coming out of your property, it could mean that you have an improper connection or broken pipes that need attention. These repairs may be eligible, under the Private Sewer Repair Program, to be made at no cost to the property owner. You should immediately contact the smoke testing crew working in the area or call (417) 864-1403 to report any instance of smoke on your property.    

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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected]

Learn more about the Private Sewer Repair Program.
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