WSSC Begins Smoke Testing of Sewer Pipes in Prince George's County

Harmless smoke used to isolate improper connections and problem areas

| Media Advisory



Laurel, Maryland – July 12, 2005: The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) will begin smoke testing of sewer mains in the Landover Hills, Beaver Heights and Cheverly areas of Prince George's County. The tests are part of WSSC's comprehensive Beaverdam Branch sewer basin study that started spring 2004.

Smoke testing will begin on Wednesday, July 20, weather permitting, in sewer mains along the following streets: Barton Road, Fairwood Road, Landover Metro Station access roads, Old Landover Road, Parkwood Street, Pennsy Drive, Quincy Street, 75th Avenue, Addison Road, Addison Street North, Alley Road, Antelope Lane, Arbor Street, Beaver Heights Lane, Beecher Street, Belmont Street, Cabin Branch Drive, Carlyle Street, Cheverly Metro Station, Columbia Park Road, Crest Avenue, Dewey Avenue, Doewood Lane, Eastern Avenue, Euclid Street, 57th Avenue, 57th Place, Marblewood Avenue, Olive Street, Prince George's Business Center, R Street, S Street, Service Lane, 61st Avenue, 62nd Avenue, 64th Avenue, State Street, Trent Street and Tuxedo Road. Testing will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily and will continue through September, weather permitting. Testing will not impact water or sewer services, and it is not necessary for residents to be home during testing.

During tests, crews will introduce harmless smoke into the sewer system through manholes and observe locations where smoke escapes to help isolate any improper connections and/or problem areas in pipes. Smoke exiting through a home's downspout/gutter or through the ground can indicate an improper connection to the sewer system or a pipe problem. It is normal, however, for smoke to escape from the vent pipe protruding through the roof of a home. Residents in these areas and local fire officials will be notified at least 48 hours before testing is performed.

During the three-year sewer basin study, WSSC will capture data on rainfall, wastewater flows, the conditions of pipes and manholes and areas where sewer mains have become exposed due to erosion in creeks and streambeds. Officials also will review growth patterns to develop plans to meet future wastewater needs. WSSC's 5,200-mile sewer system is a modern sanitary, or separate, system - meaning the pipes that carry sewage from homes and businesses to wastewater treatment plants are separate from the county's storm water drainage system.

Beaverdam Creek is a tributary of the Anacostia River. The basin contains more than 180 miles of sewer mains ranging from 6 to 66 inches in diameter, and transports approximately 8 million gallons of sewage per day to the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C.

To report water or sewer emergency, customers may call WSSC's 24-hour Emergency Response number at (301) 206-4002.

For 100 years, WSSC has proudly served the citizens of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – providing drinking water that has always met strict Safe Drinking Water Act standards and protecting the environment through vital water resource recovery services. Our vision is to be THE world-class water utility, where excellent products and services are always on tap.


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