Smoke testing at Taree

Published on 08 April 2021

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MidCoast Council will be conducting smoke testing of Taree’s sewer system next week to identify where stormwater may be incorrectly entering sewer pipes.

Staff will be visiting properties in the area to carry out an assessment of houselines from Monday 12 April to Friday 16 April.

Identifying and resolving leaks, defects and incorrectly installed stormwater connections into Council’s sewer mains will help reduce incidences of flooding or overflow on private property, but it will also help avoid expensive repairs or clean ups at Council’s plants down the track.

Smoke testing involves the pumping of non-toxic, odourless smoke into a public sewer or manhole during dry weather. The smoke enters the sewer system and escapes through leaks, cracked pipes or incorrectly installed stormwater drains. It may emerge from yards, roof gutters, pipes or street drains and is the simplest way of identifying where the problem is.

“During storms, up to 35 times more water enters our sewers, which places extra pressure on our mains and pumps, as well as adding large costs to our maintenance bills,” explained Council’s Director of Engineering and Infrastructure Services, Rob Scott.

“Sometimes, in heavy rain and flood situations, our pumps can't cope with the volumes - and then we have sewage overflows, which aren’t nice for anyone.”

Although it's illegal to connect stormwater to the sewer system, it does happen, often accidentally.

“We want to work with the community to make sure all connections are legal and safe for the environment, and the first step is identifying where these problems are, which is what our crews will be doing at Taree.”

For further information about sewer protection, including checklists and alternative ways to save rainwater, head to Council’s website www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/smoketesting