Village looks for leaks in sewer system

Trustee suggests using smoke tests
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn public works staff and engineers continue to investigate how stormwater overwhelms the village’s sanitary sewer system during heavy rains.

Public Works Director John Nevenhoven said April 13 the department soon would televise sewer lines on the west side of the village.

“We’re trying to get a handle on what’s going on, what’s getting in,” Nevenhoven said.

Village officials recently decided to do the video inspection of the sewer lines, because heavy rains last September and since then inundated the sewer system, causing some homes to have sewage backups.

Televising can reveal blockages and show cracks, breaks or deterioration of pipes. The process is performed by a robotic camera lowered into a sewer line through a manhole.

The village has separate stormwater and sanitary sewer systems. Nevenhoven said a certain amount of water naturally gets into the sewer system because it is not water tight; but he added that is not the sole source of the problem.

Trustee Jeff Humm suggested the village also conduct smoke tests to determine whether residents have illegal connections that drain stormwater into the sewer system. He said if smoke is directed into the sanitary sewer and it comes out of the gutter, it indicates an illegal connection.

“Its something for the new (village) board to keep in mind,” Humm said.