Citizens who have seen smoke blowing briefly through their property may be near a site where the town of Wadesboro is conducting smoke testing.
Starting Monday, town sewer department employees have been visiting several locations to test for problems in town sewer lines. Liquid smoke is pushed with a fan through an open manhole, alerting the employees to a potential problem when they see the smoke arise. Missing caps or cracked lines are often the culprit, although some citizens may notice smoke blowing through lines in their own homes, as well, including showers and sinks. The smoke is harmless, according to Nick Griffin, the head of the town sewer department.
While cracked or broken lines do not impact customers’ bills month-to-month, they can contribute to overall increases in the bill, Griffin said. When it rains, the water can enter the broken areas of the sewer lines, mixing in with the actual waste water. The combined water is then treated at the Water Reclamation Facility, forcing the town to pay for the treatment of both the waste and the rain water, driving their expenses up. Those extra expenses for the town can add up and contribute to higher bills overall for customers.
Griffin said that most of the issues that they found as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday were relatively minor. While some of the issues were on town property, the majority have been discovered on private land. Problem areas have been marked with flags that the town will later use to relocated the trouble areas. “If you have a flag on your property, don’t pull it up,” Griffin said. “Call us at the town and we can discuss the problem with you.” While the town will explain the details of the problem, private property owners are responsible for repairing any issues.
The town alerted emergency services about the tests before beginning to reduce false alarms. Griffin expects to complete testing on Thursday.