ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Starting on Monday, Oct. 16, Elkins residents may notice smoke coming from parts of their homes as the city tests its sanitary sewer system for weaknesses.

According to a release from the City of Elkins, workers will be entering manholes across the city and pumping smoke into the system to find potential breaks and defects. The smoke also can reveal points in the system where storm and surface water enter the system.

The testing will occur over a two-week period, barring inclement weather, and will be done in the 3rd Ward-Stewart Ave. Lift Station tributary areas.

On top of testing the street-level system, the city said that the smoke may appear in buildings throughout the city if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Vents connected to a building’s sewer pipes are inadequate, defective, or improperly installed.
  • Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed or missing.
  • Pipes, connections and seals of the wastewater drain system in and under a building are damaged, defective, have plugs missing or are improperly installed.

The city said that the smoke it plans to use is a special non-toxic version and “leaves no residuals or stains and has no effect on plant or animal life.” The smoke also has a distinctive, but not unpleasant odor that the city said will not last longer than a few minutes with adequate ventilation.

If smoke appears inside your home or business, the city encourages you to contact a member of the smoke testing crew or to contact the City of Elkins Wastewater Collection Department at (304) 636-2058. Any questions about the operation can be directed to Elkins’ Superintendent/Chief Operator Whitney Hymes at (304) 636-1122.