A city-furnished map shows the smoke test area shaded in yellow.

Smoke may enter Ashland homes during testing

Non-toxic smoke may enter some Ashland residents’ homes in the Oak Knoll neighborhood and surrounding areas during a regular smoke testing Monday, July 23, through Thursday, July 26. The “smoke” is similar to fog used in theatrical productions and is non-harmful to humans and animals.

It’s used to detect problems with the sanitary sewer system including inflow of rainwater and infiltration of ground water. If smoke is present inside a building, it is an indication that sewer gas is entering the building, according to a press release from the city of Ashland. Sewer gas in a home can become hazardous, so if smoke is present inside, the problem should be corrected immediately.

“Plumbing issues can be as simple as a ‘P’ trap (the u-shaped pipe underneath the drains in your sink or shower) that has dried out from lack of water use. If you have a fixture in your home that has not had water in it recently, it is a good idea to run some water, just 20 seconds will do it, to fill the ‘P’ trap. Water in the ‘P’ trap provides a barrier that prevents sewer gas from escaping from the sewer system into your home,” according to the press release.

If problems occur in a residential home, it is the property owner’s responsibility to correct the problem.

Storm water and ground water entering the sewer system can cause an overabundance of water being treated at the water treatment plant, essentially overwhelming the system. The smoke test is a regular part of maintenance.

The document suggests if there are individuals in a home or business in the test area who have respiratory issues they call 541-488-5587 as soon as possible prior to the testing.

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