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The original item was published from 11/18/2016 9:02:56 AM to 11/22/2016 12:05:01 AM.

News Flash

Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: November 18, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Sanitary Sewer Smoking Test

This Monday, November 21, at 9:00 a.m. Metro Sewer crews will conduct a “sewer smoke test” of the sanitary sewer main at Electric Street through South Warren Avenue. Sewer smoking is an easy to use, common, and non-toxic technique used to determine cracks and un-mapped/illegal sewer connections. Crews are conducting this test, due to dangerous and immediate water levels hikes at Butte-Silver Bow wastewater treatment plants during natural high water events. This indicates that at certain points Butte’s storm water system are cross connected to the sanitary sewer system. These connections are not only illegal, but also pose great risks to creek restoration and wildlife downriver because of the potential of back flow.
This Monday, crews will place a large fan above the manhole at Electric Street, which will blow an activated “smoke stick” into the sewer system. Crews will be able to track smoke returning to the surface, revealing any cracks in pipes or illicit connections between sanitary and storm water sewer systems. Butte-Silver Bow is testing at this location because it is the most remote sewer main in the system, with the fewest connections, leading to the fewest disruptions.
Should Monday’s test be successful, we will deploy this method throughout the Butte-Silver Bow sanitary sewer system. Homeowners and business in impacted areas will be notified by Public Works prior to any smoke testing. If your home or business is in an area where sewer smoking is taking place, and you have good seals and traps on your sanitary sewers, smoke will only emanate from sewer vent pipes normally located on the roof of the structure. If seals and traps are bad, smoke may emanate from under the toilet, through the sink, washing machine, drain pipe, or floor drain. If smoke does enter the house, though non-toxic, we ask citizens to vacate the property until the smoke has dissipated.

For questions, please contact Metro Division Manager, Matt Moore at (406) 497-6563, or

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