Harrisonburg to conduct annual testing of sewer system

harrisonburgThe City of Harrisonburg Public Utilities Department will soon begin its annual testing of the sanitary sewer system.

The effort involves release of a non-toxic and non-staining test smoke into area manholes, which will travel through the sanitary sewer system. The purpose of this testing is to detect any breaks or leaks in the City’s system and make appropriate repairs, if necessary.

Testing will begin Monday and run through November. During this time, residents may notice smoke rising from manhole covers, yards where systems run, or even from their bathtubs, toilets or sinks.

The city has a total of 190 miles of sewer lines and a section of those lines are tested each year.

Some smoke will be seen being released from rooftop plumbing vents, which is an indication of a properly installed plumbing system.

Tips for residents:

  • Pour one gallon of water into the drain traps of floors, sinks, showers and tubs, which will prevent sewer gases or smoke from entering a home or business.
  • If the non-toxic smoke enters a residence or business, this is a sign of a defect in the plumbing. When this occurs, there is no need to contact emergency services. Open a window or door for ventilation, note the location of the smoke, and contact a qualified plumber.
  • Anyone with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions should not stay in a building where smoke has entered as a precautionary measure.

Anyone with questions may contact the Public Utilities Department at 540-434-9959.


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