Columbia begins smoke testing sewers downtown

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Works Department began smoke testing sewers around 8 a.m. Tuesday to find faulty pipes that could have allowed storm water to seep into sanitary sewer systems.

Steven Sapp, Public Information Officer for the department, said it was an easy way to detect any bad pipes because the smoke comes out of cracked or broken pipes.

"While we have focused a lot on residential areas because of development downtown, we have been looking at sewer systems in the downtown area," Sapp said. "And, have identified some in particular seem to be getting a lot of inflow and infiltration when it rains."

City officials notified businesses that had a chance of being affected by the testing. They said the smoke is not harmful.

Sapp said there will not be any road closures, but drivers should expect delays.

Testing is scheduled to continue until Friday and is said to end everyday around 3 p.m.

Here is a list of areas being tested:

  • Alley south of Broadway from 6th Street to Hitt
  • Broadway between 8th Street and 9th Street
  • Broadway between 10th Street and Waugh
  • 8th Street from Broadway south to the alley (Alley A)
  • 10th Street from Broadway south to the alley (Alley A)
  • Waugh from Broadway south about 325 feet