City To Test Sewer System

Posted: July 25, 2014

HARRISONBURG — The Public Utilities Department wants residents to be aware that testing on the city’s sewer system will begin on Monday.

The testing, which is conducted on a different section of the sewer system each year, will take place in the Harmony Heights and Park View neighborhoods west of Virginia Avenue in the northern section of the city, according to an announcement from the city.

Portions of the system along Mount Clinton Pike and Acorn Drive on the east side of Virginia Avenue will be tested as well.

During the testing, public utilities workers will release nontoxic and nonstaining smoke into the city’s manholes. The smoke will then travel through the sewer system to detect any leaks.

If residents see smoke being released from plumbing vents situated on the roof of structures, there is no reason to panic, according to the city.

“Smoke being released from these vents is a clear indication of a properly installed plumbing system,” the city said in its announcement.

The Public Utilities Department does have several suggestions for residents as it conducts these tests:

Residents are recommended to pour one gallon of water into the drain taps of floors, sinks, showers and tubs. “This will help prevent sewer gases or smoke from entering a home or business,” the city said.

If the smoke enters a building, this indicates a problem with the plumbing. However, there is no need to call emergency services.

Instead, the city recommends locating where the smoke is coming from, open a door or window to ventilate the structure and then contact a plumbing service.

Finally, anyone with a cardiovascular or respiratory condition should vacate a building where smoke has entered.

Testing on the sewer system will continue through the end of September.

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

Contact Bryan Gilkerson at 574-6267 or

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