What Is a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey?

It is easy to take your sewer system for granted, but if a relatively minor issue, such as infiltration, backup, or leaking, were to escalate into a major one, the results could be disastrous for your business.

Sewer failure is also a big problem for the environment. Fifteen years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that approximately 10 billion gallons of raw sewage are released per year due to sanitary sewer overflows.

A sanitary sewer evaluation survey assesses the health of your system, identifies potential issues, and gives you an idea of what you need to do to correct them. A thorough survey involves several different techniques.

Smoke Testing

This involves using a smoke pump tester to force dense vapor into the sewer pipes for the purpose of identifying leaks. If the integrity of the pipes is compromised in one or more places, the smoke will seep through for visual identification.

Dyed Water Testing

This is another method of visual identification of leaks and other issues. Water is colored with a fluorescent material and introduced into the system. Its color allows it to be easily identified, and if any dyed water is found where it is not supposed to be, it indicates the presence of a leak.

CCTV Inspection

This involves taking a firsthand look at the pipes with the use of closed-circuit television cameras. If there is evidence of surcharging, grease, tree roots, or damage to the pipes themselves, this type of scanning method may be recommended.

Manhole Inspections

These are used to determine whether rainwater is flowing directly into the sewers from an inappropriate location. The technical term for this is inflow, and manhole inspections are used to identify the sources of it. They are best conducted during the rainy season, if applicable.

A sanitary sewer evaluation survey is a complex process and should only be attempted by a professional. Even if you are not required by the EPA to have one for your business, it may still be a good idea, so that you can identify and correct potential problems early on.

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