It’s a part of SCOPE 10, a 10-year sewer rehabilitation program launched last year by CU whose aim is to rapidly curtail inflow and infiltration in parts of an aging wastewater system that is contributing to flash flooding and potential health hazards along many city streets during periods of heavy rainfall.
The latest cost of SCOPE 10 is about $29 million. The price, which originally had been pegged at $15 million, could conceivably increase depending on the extent of damage to CU’s sewer infrastructure. Crews are taking the daunting task one neighborhood at a time while attempting to target areas first that are suspected of being the worst in need of repair.
Greg Clark, CU wastewater rehabilitation manager who recently was named to lead the encompassing SCOPE 10 initiative, said CU crews and contractors are taking the smoke testing from neighborhood to neighborhood in a pattern defined through the project plan.
Some of the areas expected to see CU employees and outside technicians conducting the tests this week include Star Vue Drive, Grove Drive, Grove Circle, 20th Street, Keith Street, Inman Street, Emmett Avenue, Georgetown Road, Nuckolls Avenue, Thomas Avenue, Nevin Lane, French Avenue, Fairmont Street, Ingle Drive, 17th Street, Steed Street, Willow Street, 21st Street, 22nd Street and 23rd Street.
“Smoke testing is planned in these areas weather permitting,” Clark said.
If conditions are dry, testers will be on-site. However, if heavy rains blow in, it could delay plans. In order for smoke testing to be effective, existing sewer lines must be free of extensive I/I.
SCOPE 10 is an acronym for “Strategic Commitment to Protect the Environment.” Its project scope is to span a 10-year period in which CU and contractors will canvas the entire CU service area in order to identify — and to repair or totally replace — existing sewer lines that are cracked, broken or damaged in any way. This type of disrepair leads to excessive I/I which in turn contributes directly to localized flooding.
I/I is described as extraneous or unwanted water that seeps into cracked sewer lines, thereby overburdening the system and creating manhole overflow problems in many areas of the city.
Completing SCOPE 10 is not considered an option, but a mandate by CU officials who understand that excessive overflows could endanger the utility’s NPDES (National Pollutant Dischard Elimination System) permit.
“It’s very critical we do the work,” Clark said earlier this year in a project update to the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.
Smoke testing is one of the first steps in beginning the SCOPE 10 initiative in any neighborhood or series of city blocks.
This type of testing is used to identify leaks in the existing sewer system. To pinpoint the source of leaks, which allow for water intrusion, smoke is injected into the system. Areas where smoke rises — from the ground, manholes or even household plumbing — are often an indicator that a leak or line breakage exists.
Residents are reminded not to be alarmed if they view smoke coming from roof vents during CU testing. This is normal. Smoke coming from the ground should be recognized as a potential break or damage to the sub-surface lines. Smoke coming from within a home’s interior could indicate a plumbing malfunction.
CU crews and contractors will be identified with paperwork verifying their identify and purpose for being in the neighborhoods. Residents who have questions about the smoke testing process are invited to approach crew personnel in their neighborhoods. Residents may also direct their questions to CU at 472-4521.