Cape Girardeau's Sewer System to Undergo Smoke Testing, Beginning Oct. 19

Update: The contractor notified Public Works that they would now begin testing on Oct. 19, instead of Oct. 13 as originally stated. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Smoke testing of portions of Cape Girardeau’s sanitary sewer system will begin on Oct. 19, and will take three to four weeks to complete. Hydromax USA, under contract with the City of Cape Girardeau Public Works Department and Stantec Consulting, will perform the testing.
Download: Map of Testing Locations
This work is part of the City’s program to remove rain water from the sewer system flows as required, per the agreement between the City and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Smoke testing helps the City find out how rain and other ground water enters the sewer system and travels to the Wastewater Treatment Facility, increasing the gallons the facility must treat. Daily average flow processed through the facility from Cape Girardeau’s sewers is five to six million gallons. During rain events, the facility may process as much as 27 million gallons per day.
“We get quite a bit of stormwater in our system, so this becomes a capacity issue for us,” said Stan Polivick, Assistant Public Works Director. “It costs a certain amount of money to treat water, regardless of the type of water going through the Wastewater Treatment Facility.”
The testing helps point out areas of the sanitary sewer system that can use improvement or repairs to keep the extra water out as much as possible.
“This helps us be able to keep costs as low as we can on sewer bills for our customers since we’re working to treat less water at the facility,” said Polivick.
During testing, residents may see smoke coming from holes in the ground or vent stacks on houses. The smoke is non-toxic, non-staining, has no odor, will be white to gray in color, and it creates no fire hazard.
Smoke should not enter homes unless there is defective plumbing present or the drain traps are dry. To prevent smoke from potentially entering your home, pour a gallon of water into any seldom used drain prior to the testing date, filling the drain traps and preventing the smoke from entering.
If smoke enters your home or business during the testing period, then notify the crew working in your area and open windows for ventilation. The field crew can be reached at 812-746-5840. If you are not home during testing and discover smoke when you return, please call Stantec Consulting at 636-764-5859 or 314-368-9896.
The workers will be in vehicles with the company logo and will be wearing shirts or jackets with company logo. This should make it easy for residents to know who they are.
The contractors will also inspect sewer manhole covers during the work.
For more information on the smoke testing or sewer system in Cape Girardeau, please contact Public Works at 573-339-6351.

Cape Girardeau's new Wastewater Treatment Facility, spring 2015.
Cape Girardeau’s new Wastewater Treatment Facility, spring 2015.