Where there’s smoke … there’s utility testing

When it comes to important utility testing beginning in Satellite Beach neighborhoods, “smoke” coming from private sewer lines for which homeowners are responsible might mean money going down the drain in terms of the type of water intrusion which contributed to massive floods in 2017.

The good news is that it is not real smoke, and there is help on the way to assist homeowners to pay for those repairs. Information from the county smoke tests should give a clearer picture of the volume of intrusion, especially in the older neighborhoods, to help in planning to correct the overall system.

To give residents an understanding of the other problems that contributed to the 2017 floods, water, sewer and storm water utility providers will present information about each system and future upgrades at a workshop to be held this past Tuesday at the Satellite Beach Civic Center, 565 Cassia Blvd.

In addition to the presentation on the smoke tests, the county was to give information on other ongoing infrastructure upgrades, the City of Melbourne was to share information regarding the water system which supplies water to Satellite Beach, and the City of Satellite Beach was to present information regarding recent updates to its stormwater Master Plan, including future upgrades to the stormwater system.

“It’s just to help educate the residents on who the provider is for each utility and what improvements are coming up. We’re trying to clear up misconceptions and teach them about each utility,’’ said Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker.

The smoke will be blown into a manhole and will be visible exiting from the vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground. This smoke is not actual smoke and is non-toxic, non-staining, odorless, white and/or gray in color, and creates no fire hazard. The results of the smoke testing will be used to develop an incentive program designed to financially assist homeowners in replacing their drain pipes, Barker said.

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