The Macon Water Authority

790 Second Street • Macon, GA 31202-0108 • (478) 464-5600

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MWA and CES continue Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study

Jan 20, 2012 by Dr. Chris Wood


The Macon Water Authority is having smoke testing (pictured in a residential neighborhood above) conducted throughout its sewer system within the Tobesofkee Basin, to identify potential sewer lines or structures that need maintenance or repairs.

The Macon Water Authority, with help from technicians with Compliance EnviroSystems (CES), are gathering some valuable data about the status of its sewer system, which will assist in identifying future maintenance and rehabilitation needs of its infrastructure. Assessing the condition of the MWA sewer system is the ultimate objective of the Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study (SSES) the Authority and CES initiated approximately 18 months ago.

Currently working on the SSES in the Tobesofkee Basin, personnel from the MWA and CES are conducting smoke testing of sewer lines within these areas of the MWA system. Residents who may see smoke coming from sewer vents, lines, or manholes, should not be alarmed, as smoke testing is a very helpful and necessary diagnostic tool within the overall SSES process to locate incidents of Inflow and Infiltration (I and I) within the MWA sewer system. By identifying possible sites of Inflow and Infiltration from the use of smoke testing and other diagnostic methods, the MWA will be able to better determine the structural integrity of sewer lines, while prioritizing those parts of the system in need of maintenance or rehabilitation.

CES entered into an agreement with the MWA in May of 2010 to assist the Authority with a proactive approach to identifying and evaluating the assets of the Authority’s wastewater collection system. In December of 2011, CES and the MWA resumed work on the SSES program in the Tobesofkee Sewer Basin to identify potential sources of Inflow and Infiltration in this area of the collection system. Inflow and Infiltration are incidents when unnecessary ground water is captured in the collection system, resulting in increased treatment costs for the Authority.

As of today, CES and MWA crews have installed flow monitors throughout the MWA service area. Smoke testing has been performed in the Echeconnee basin, while manholes have been inspected and maps have been updated. CCTV and cleaning have been performed in the Echeconnee basin as well. After CES and the MWA have completed the current smoke testing in the Tobesofkee basin, along with manhole inspections, CCTV and cleaning of sewer lines in this basin will be conducted based on the test results.

When the SSES is completed for both basins, the MWA will gain an accurate understanding of the location and condition of the underground assets of its sewer collection system. The results of this study will be the guidelines for prioritizing the rehabilitation of the collection system, resulting in better service to the customers of the Macon Water Authority.
The entire SSES involves a four-part approach to evaluate the condition and rehab needs of the MWA sewer system.

First, Flow Monitoring is an initial means to identify and record the flow of sewer/wastewater within the system during both dry weather and rain events, which is helpful in identifying potential areas of I and I. Flow Monitoring is the baseline task for all other evaluations within the system.

Second, Manhole Inspections are conducted since manholes are a major source of I and I, needing to be inspected and properly mapped to ensure location of the structure is accurate and condition of the manhole is sound.

Third, an SSES involves Smoke Testing, which entails the injection of non-toxic smoke into the collection system to help identify the exact location of unwanted I and I.

Finally, during the SSES, the MWA and CES may conduct CCTV and Cleaning of sewer lines within the system. This final step of the process is implemented by inserting robotic televising equipment and pressurized water cleaning equipment into the collection system to clean the pipes, while identifying the exact problems causing the Inflow and Infiltration. The defects are then located, coded, and used for the prioritization of future MWA maintenance and rehabilitation projects.

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
770-757-1681 (phone) (email)

MWA contacts:
Heather Veal, CMOM Coordinator
478-464-5669 (phone) (email)

Darryl Macy, Manager of Sewer Collection and Water Distribution
478-464-5673 (phone) (email)

Tagged: macon water authority, ces, sses, smoke testing, sewer system maintenance, sewer system rehab

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