As Shreveport residents start getting some sticker shock from increased water and sewer bills, they may start seeing some smoke rise from the streets.

Don't fear.  It is just part of a test of Shreveport's sewer lines.

The purpose of a smoke test is to assist inspection crews identify breaks and defects in the sewer system across the city.

City officials say that this smoke is not toxic or hazardous in any way.  It is non-staining, odorless, white to gray in color and is not a fire risk.

The smoke should not enter your home, but if it does, it means there is a leak in your home's sewer system and indicates that gases from the sewer line may be entering your home.  The Department of Water and Sewerage says you should contact a plumber to fix the issue.

Tubs or sinks that have not been used in a while are more likely to see smoke in them because of dried up drain traps.  If you have sinks or tubs you do not use often, pour a gallon of water down each drain before testing.

If smoke enters your home, it may trip your smoke detector.  If you are not home during the testing and find smoke in your home, you are asked to contact the city's consultant, Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., (318-222-5901); the city's contractor, Compliance Envirosystems, LLC, (225-769-2933); or the Department of Engineering and Environmental Services (318-673-6000).

If there is someone in your home or business who has respiratory issues or is immoble, you are asked to notify the above mentioned offices before testing is done.

Residents will be notify via flyers when their neighborhood will see smoke testing begin.

Officials say if you see smoke and think that it could be a fire, you should call 911 immediately.

What is a smoke test and what is its benefits?

A smoke test is when crews place a smoke blower over manhole covers and blow smoke through the sewer system.  Crews take note of where smoke exits the system.  If smoke can get out, storm water can get in.

Not only that, but the test can determine where there are structural deficiencies in the sewer system and leaking joints.

When will residents find out about the testing?

The City says residents should find about testing in their neighborhood anywhere between one and five days before testing is to begin.  Crews in the field will be uniformed and carrying City of Shreveport identification badges.

Will crews be entering my home?

No.  Crews will not need to enter your home during testing.  Residents do not have to be home during the testing, but if you do find smoke when you do return home, you are asked to contact the city officials and/or your plumber.

If there is smoke in my yard, does my yard have to be torn up?

The City says in the worst case scenario, yes.  However, there are other ways to resolve the issue without digging up the yard.  If there is smoke coming from your yard or your driveway, it could mean there is a storm drain connected to the sewer system instead of the storm system.  Or, it could mean there are breaks in your sewer line to the street.

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