Smoke testing being done on Beacon Falls’ sewers

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BEACON FALLS — Beginning this week, residents may have noticed some white smoke on their streets this week, but don’t panic — it’s only a test.

The smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system is part of an 18-month study to evaluate the entire wastewater treatment system in town, said Dave Prickett, project manager and vice president of Woodard and Curran, a firm with Connecticut offices in Cheshire and Enfield.

Woodard and Curran subcontracted with ADS Environmental Services of Huntsville, Ala., to help with the field work, Prickett said. They’re using smoke testing because it will help to identify where there might be leaks and stormwater connections such as catch basins or gutters, he said.

Residents should expect to see a notice of the testing this week, Prickett said.

According to a copy of the notice, testing will begin within 48 hours after delivery of the notice.

Streets east of the Naugatuck River will be tested, Prickett said. He said those tend to be where the older pipes are located, and they tend to leak more.

White smoke will be introduced through the sanitary sewer system via a smoke-generating machine, the notice says. The smoke will be venting from holes in manhole covers on streets and from plumbing vent pipes on or near the surface of roofs.

If residents detect smoke inside their home, they shouldn’t be alarmed, the notice reads. The smoke isn’t toxic and doesn’t stain. But in high concentrations, it may irritate a person’s nose, it says.

Prickett said the wastewater study will cost about $600,000.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the testing is necessary to find out all of the aspects that are going to eventually be encompassed into a large upgrade to the waste treatment plant.

Residents aren’t required to be home when testing is being performed on their street.

All ADS personnel will present personal identification.

Individuals who shouldn’t be exposed to any type of smoke include those with emphysema or other lung ailments should request their house be registered as a “Home of Special Concern.” To notify ADS, call (603) 625-1212 before the testing so precautions can be taken.

For information about the smoke testing, residents can call the first selectman’s office at (203) 729-4340.