City of Albert Lea to conduct smoke testing

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The city of Albert Lea will conduct smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system this month and July. According to a press release, testing will begin June 13 and residents of the areas to be tested will receive notices prior to testing. These areas will be south of South Broadway and SE Broadway.

Smoke testing identifies locations where there are defects or improper connections in the sewer system, and is the industry standard and an efficient, cost effective way to locate and identify leaks and the source of storm water infiltration problems in the sanitary sewer system.

The smoke, which is manufactured specifically for testing, is EPA endorsed, and is a non-toxic substance that is generally considered to be harmless to humans, pets, food, and material items. This specific product has been used successfully for over 30 years throughout the United States.

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Smoke Testing

Testing is important because each year millions of gallons of excess water infiltrate sanitary sewers and can overload the system, pump stations and the treatment plants.

The sanitary sewer system is designed for wastewater only from homes and businesses. The storm water drainage system is a separate network of pipes channeling storm water runoff into creeks and waterways, and into the lakes.

According to a press release, the infiltration of the storm water in any amount into the sanitary sewer system can cause and contribute to the overflow of untreated wastewater during storm events and potentially result in environmental and property damage.

More information and frequently asked questions are available on the city’s website,