By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The Pearl River County Utility Authority conducted smoke testing Wednesday morning on the sewer lines between U.S. Highway 11, Mississippi Highway 43 and Adcox Road.
At an apartment complex on Stockstill Street, smoke could be seen seeping out from the ground. On closer inspection, the utility authority crew saw damage to the clean-out pipe, which allowed water to seep into the system.
A neighbor indicated that a previous resident used to park in the area between two of the apartments, and one of the crew members said the former tenant probably had run over the clean-out pipe causing damage.
The utility authority keeps water from entering or flowing out of clean-out pipes by placing a cover over the opening. Charlie Rouse, a collection system foreman, said by 11 a.m. the crews had identified more than a dozen clean-out pipes missing covers or clean-out pipes that were damaged.
The smoke machine consists of a fan that is connected to a container of liquid smoke. When the machine is turned on, the fan blows the smoke into the system from manholes, and the smoke disperses through the sewer system, said Jeff McClain, Pearl River County Utility Authority executive director.
If there is a break or leak in the line, the smoke will rise from the ground, allowing crews to see the areas of concern and mark them for future repairs.
The smoke also could be seen coming from the vent stacks on the houses in the area.
The smoke machine was provided by the Mississippi Rural Water Association, and James Benefield with the water association was out in the field with the utility authority crew to operate the machine.
“It’s hard to tell until we get finished with the assessment,” McClain said about the amount of work and repairs that will need to be done.