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Smoke Testing

The purpose of smoke testing is to find defects and faulty connections where excess rain water (Inflow) and ground water (Infiltration) can enter the sanitary sewer system, negatively effecting its economical and safe functioning. Illegal Inflow sources/connections include: sump pumps, roof and foundation drains, and storm drain cross connections. The information gained from smoke testing will help the City find and eliminate unknown sources of (I/I) entering the sanitary sewer system. Reducing I/I is an on-going City effort to help:

Comply with the Met Council Rules. The Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services (MCES) may add a demand charge to Saint Paul’s wastewater treatment bills if the excessive I/I is not removed from the system.
Maintain Health & Safety (Reduce the Risk of Sewer Back-ups and Sinkholes).
• Extend the Service Life of Public Infrastructure (Lift stations, sewer pipe, etc.)
• Reduce Wastewater Treatment Costs by reducing the amount of clear water that is treated.

Active 2015 Project Description and Area Map

Project 15-01
From the end of June through Mid-September, S.E.H a contractor working for the Sewer Utility will smoke test another portion of the City's sanitary sewer system. 
Please see the attached project area map and smoke testing notices that has been mailed to residents and property owners. This project is anticipated to be completed by the 7th of September.

This project will address about a 2250-acre area South of Mississippi River (see the attached project area map).

The testing involves injecting simulated smoke into the sanitary sewer system to find points where rainwater and groundwater can enter the system. 
Elimination of  clear water from the sanitary sewers is a priority for the Sewer Utility and the Met Council, in order to reduce treatment costs and preserve system capacity. 
Previous sewer smoke testing projects (since 2007) have been successful in finding many inflow sources (faulty connections). 

Effective communication with affected residents/property owners is critical to the success of this project. 
To that end, the following means of communication will be employed:

1.  Initial Public Notice - By Mail (includes: Notice, and Project Area Map, see attachments)
2.  Automated Phone Call to residents/property owners notifying them of the mailing and public informational meeting.
3.  Public Info Meeting (open house) on June 23, 2015 from 4:00 TO 7:00 P.M. at El Rio Recreation Center, 179 Robie St. E (Robie St E & State St).
4.  Door Hanger Placement (to be placed approximately two to three days before testing occurs).
5.  Automated Phone Call - A second automated phone call is to be placed 24 to 48 hours prior to smoke testing work beginning.

Also, close coordination with the St. Paul Fire Department is also essential to address the potential for false fire alarms. They will be updated on a regular basis.

The Smoke Testing Crew chief can be contacted @ (651) 238-0572 if any simulated smoke is reported in a building.

Helpful Links

For further information on the LiquiSmoke product used in testing our sewers, as well as material testing results regarding exposure and health please visit:

Hurco Technologies, Inc. LiquiSmoke

LiquiSmoke Material Safety Data Sheet

View our short PowerPoint presentation

Smoke Testing Slide Presentation

Contact Information

For more information, questions or concerns about this Program, you may contact:

Girma Daka @ (651) 266-6189

Aaron Hass @ (651) 266-6171

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