FRAMINGHAM, MA -- The Framingham Department of Public Works will begin conducting Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Wednesday, September 1st, to investigate sources of rainwater and groundwater (inflow and infiltration) that are entering the sanitary sewer system.
The entire testing program is expected to take one month to complete and will be conducted by engineering consultant, Weston & Sampson.
According to the FraminghamMA.gov website, "Smoke testing is a common practice that involves blowing air and a non-toxic, non-staining smoke into the sanitary sewer system in the street and monitoring where the smoke escapes."
Testing will occur Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., in designated areas (Western Framingham), bounded by Pleasant Street, the Mass Pike, Route 9, Temple Street, and the Southborough Town line.
White smoke may be seen coming from sewer vent pipes on buildings and homes, and from manhole covers and other sewer openings while the contractor (Weston & Sampson), crew is working nearby.
Seeing smoke outside is normal and should not cause alarm.
Two days before testing occurs, "door hanger" paper notices will be delivered to homes and businesses in test area.
People with health concerns and/or respiratory issues should avoid direct exposure to the smoke.
Framingham has been working on this issue since 2019 when, by measuring sewer flow rates on rainy days versus other days of the year, (flow increases after rain), over 100 potential sources were identified.
The testing is part of a multi-year project to locate and remove sources of rainwater runoff and groundwater (clean water) that ends up being treated as wastewater at a cost to all Framingham Water/Sewer rate payers.
An anticipated testing schedule, daily updates, and additional information about the program can be found on the City’s website: www.FraminghamMA.gov/SmokeTesting
Sources: Framingham media alert / FraminghamMA.gov website