Largo using smoke to improve sewer system

Sewer line fixes should help flooding issues

LARGO, Fla. — It’s hard not to be a little worried when you see smoke pouring out homes and from the sewer.

But City of Largo officials say it’s completely normal.”

“We are looking for leaks,” said engineering director Jerry Woloszynski.

To do that,  crews are doing what’s called a smoke test.

They send non-toxic mineral water into sewer lines trying to pinpoint broken pipes.

If that smoke comes out of those rooftop vents, that’s usually a good sign the lines are clear.

But in some cases, they find trouble spots.

Overflows have been a problem in certain areas of Largo during recent storms, with sewage ending up in waterways.

The hope is this testing will keep rain and groundwater out of pipes.

“It’s one of those things that’s out of sight, out of mind. And until you have those tree roots growing through your later, or soil that’s collapsed into a broken pipe and it backs up into your home, generally when you learn of it, it’s already too late because something is backed up,” Woloszynski said.

If leaks are found on your property, it will be up to you to pay for repairs.

But the city says dealing with these problems is good for everybody.

“If we can eliminate the backup and have lower costs at the treatment plant, then the citizens win, the environment wins, and our city of Largo treatment costs go down,” he said.

The fire department is put on notice during these tests, so they don’t confuse this smoke with a real emergency.

The testing runs through March 9.

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