Using equipment that forces smoke into manholes and observing where it comes out gives technicians an idea of where the two types of sewer lines – for rain runoff and wastewater – remain connected, despite efforts in the late ’90s to fully separate the systems, Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier said.
Augusta’s original underground pipe system carried away storm drainage, but as indoor plumbing evolved engineers often tied drain lines to the storm lines, Wiedmeier said.
Shortly after consolidation, Augusta attempted to completely separate all the lines, which were connected throughout downtown, in Harrisburg, across parts of Summerville and along older sections of Wrightsboro Road, but overlooked connections exist, he said.
The testing, being performed by a consultant, is ongoing through Friday between Fifth and 15th streets. Anyone who sees smoke coming from an interior fixture should contact their building superintendent.