Wastewater System Inspections and Smoke Testing

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Current Work Areas

KUB is stepping up wastewater system inspection and cleaning throughout our service area to improve the system and help protect our environment. Our efforts include both a systematic approach to cleaning the entire system and a more concentrated Blockage Abatement program (BA). 

BA uses regularly scheduled inspection and cleaning to help prevent problems in sewer pipes with a history of blockage-related overflows. The BA program includes 111 miles of pipe located throughout the wastewater system, and scheduled cleaning frequencies range from once a month in areas with chronic problems to once every 42 months. 

KUB adjusts the schedule if follow-up inspections show a pipe needs more or less cleaning. Pipes with a history of blockage-related problems stay on the BA program until they are rehabilitated or replaced. 

Both systemwide cleaning and BA include periodic inspection with remote control cameras and smoke testing to help evaluate the condition of the pipe. Regular inspections help identify potential problems and direct cleaning and rehabilitation efforts. Cleaning helps prevent blockages and reduces sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in the environment and backups in customers' homes or on their property. 

Crews access sewer pipes through manholes in the street, in easements, or on customers' property. These crews do not dig or otherwise damage streets or property. 

Remote-control cameras assess pipe condition and identify areas where roots or debris may be a problem. Crews use high-pressure water and mechanical root cutters to clear pipes and remove roots, and they vacuum debris out at a downstream manhole. 

Broken or deteriorated pipes are reported and prioritized for repair. Repairs deemed necessary are usually scheduled for later instead of being done during the investigation process. 

Crews in the field try to contact customers before accessing manholes on their property. If the customer is not available, crews will leave a door hanger that explains whether the crew was able to access the manhole that day or whether they need the customer to arrange access. The door hanger includes a KUB contact number customers can call if they have questions or need to arrange access. 

All KUB employees and designated contractor representatives have KUB photo ID badges. The crews may need access to manholes on your property for sewer cleaning and inspection work, but they won't need to enter your home or business. 

Remember: KUB employees rarely have reason to enter your home unless you have made an appointment. For your safety, always ask to see KUB ID before letting someone claiming to be from KUB into your home. Call KUB at 865-524-2911 to verify employee ID or find out if a crew is working in your area.