EXPLAINED: Where there’s smoke, there’s sewerage testing

THE sight of smoke is usually cause for alarm.

But next week on the Fraser Coast, it could well be saving ratepayers' money.

An inspection program is aimed at identifying the sources of stormwater and groundwater leaking into the Maryborough and Hervey Bay sewerage networks.

"The inspection program will use smoke testing and property inspections to identify and fix leaks which allow stormwater and groundwater to enter the sewerage system," Councillor Paul Truscott said.

"Sometimes stormwater downpipes are incorrectly joined to the sewerage system or breaks on the pipes can allow groundwater to leak into the sewers.

"During storms the amount of sewage heading to the treatment plant can be more than five times normal dry weather flows.

"That extra water has to be treated and that costs ratepayers money. It can cause the treatment plants to overload and have a negative impact on the environment."

As part of the inspection program a non-toxic, non-staining, odourless coloured smoke will be injected into the sewers.

"As the smoke escapes from cracks in pipes or incorrectly installed stormwater drains, we can see faults that need fixing," Cr Truscott said.

"Smoke may emerge from yards, roof gutters, pipes or street drains. It is also possible that smoke may appear inside a house if the drainage traps are dry.

"The smoke is not flammable and will not cause any harm to people, pets or plants."

Cr Truscott said the discovery of properties with illegal connections would not necessarily mean fines would be issued.

"Our experience is that once made aware of issues, most property owners comply with the request to rectify problems," he said.

Cr Truscott said residents would be notified of the timing of inspections.

The two-month Maryborough inspection program is scheduled to start on Monday and the three-month Hervey Bay inspection program is scheduled to start on February 1, 2021.