Residents in the Osborne-Sagamore section of the Town of Hamburg may see smoke rising up from the ground as the town undertakes smoke testing of the sanitary sewers to find leaks in the next few weeks.
The testing program has been mandated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and is intended to provide information on the water-tightness of the sewers and possible existence of storm-to-sanitary-sewer cross-connections. The cross-connections are suspected of contributing to the unacceptable excess wet weather flows in the sanitary sewer system.
The testing is to begin Monday and continue through Oct. 1. It will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Smoke associated with the testing is intended to remain outside the home and is most often seen discharging through lawn vents, storm sewers and ground surfaces as it escapes through leaky pipes. The smoke is normally stopped at the sewer lateral trap/vent in the lawn and does not enter the home, but if there is no trap or if the trap is dry, smoke may enter the house through unprotected floor drains or fixtures.
Town officials also have urged residents to call 911 if they believe the smoke could be due to a fire in their home.
Residents have been notified of the testing and have been asked to immediately locate and notify technicians conducting the test in the area.
The smoke is light in color and has a slight odor. While it is relatively harmless, it could be irritating to nasal and throat passages, and it is recommended that unnecessary exposure be avoided.
The smoke testing program will be performed along Bain Parkway, Blair Court, Electric Avenue, Fairview Parkway, Fuller, Grafton, Harrison and James avenues, Johnson Street, Marlowe Avenue, Milestrip Expressway, Mundy Street, Salisbury Avenue, Saxony Place, South Park Avenue, Telfer Street, Wabash and White avenues and Winslow Drive.
The contractor performing the testing is TECsmith of Elma.