The Brainerd City Council Tuesday was updated on the progress of the inflow and infiltration study of the sanitary sewer system in the city.
The study is being performed by the engineering firm of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates, St. Cloud.
Inflow and infiltration are terms used to describe the clear water, such as rainfall, snowmelt and groundwater, which enters the sanitary sewer collection system, said Jeff Hulsether, Brainerd City Engineer.
The study has been extended to next spring because of a poor snow fall last winter. No snow left no snowmelt, and the dry ground soaked up summer rains.
"There's nothing we can do about the weather," said Keith Yapp, project engineer for Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates. "It just sort of happens that way." But flow rates that have been recorded show good readings, Yapp added.
Yapp said since flow metering began in March, the areas of town showing flow problems have been located in the older areas of town, namely the northern and downtown portions of Brainerd.
But between now and spring the engineering firm will be conducting smoke testing to find inappropriate connections to the sanitary sewer system, Hulsether said.
Prior to the smoke testing, the engineering firm will be conducting public education and information meetings for residents affected by the smoke.
Smoke testing will be conducted in north Brainerd, in the central business district and near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad shops.
Smoke testing uses a fan to push non-toxic smoke through the sanitary sewer system. The smoke will escape any untrapped connection.
"It's a wonderful technique to find leaks," said Roushar, inflow and infiltration project manager for Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates.
Roushar warned that people with seldom used floor drains in their basements should pour water in the drain to make sure the trap is full, otherwise the smoke will enter the basement.
The engineering firm will put out a news release to the public, as well as leaflets in neighborhoods that will be affected by the smoke testing.
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