Powerful sewer nozzles were used as part of a recent clean up operation initiated to resolve the crisis that has been plaguing residents of Linwood, Michigan for years. According to Susan Vela of MLive, the community has been plagued by a recurring, rancid odor that occasionally permeated the air in the neighborhood. Last April, the Bay County Department of Water and Sewer (BCDWS) hired technicians to inspect the sanitary sewer lines of Linwood with the aid of a mobile TV camera to detect the source of the foul odor.
Specific underground sewer areas-including the stretch along Linwood Road, between M-13 and Saginaw Bay beach-were probed. However, the inspection only reinforced the community’s beliefs that the pipes were in relatively good condition, save for a few cracked and chipped portions on the east end of Linwood Road, close to the railroad tracks. Since probing with mobile TV cameras did not yield specific answers to the problem, Tom Paige, director of the Bay County Department of Water and Sewer, scheduled pipe cleaning along the M-13.
On May 6, 2013, BCDWS proceeded with the pipe cleaning operation by treating the sewer water and sanitary sewer pipes with a new chemical and the use of industrial sewer cleaning tools to arrest the buildup of bacteria and hydrogen sulfide gas. Sewer cleaning tools are available from dealers like California-based Haaker Equipment Company. Since that time, no Linwood residents have called Paige to complain about the smell coming back.
Should the foul odor return when the weather changes, Paige and his team are considering conducting a smoke test throughout the sanitary sewer system. Although residents are happy with the results, the cleaning job set Bay County back by about $5,680. To prevent the release of hydrogen sulfide from decaying matter into the atmosphere, Linwood’s sewers will need to be inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
Residents must also be educated on how sewers work, and how such infrastructure should be used. Among the primary causes of sewer blockage is the buildup of fat and grease deposits on the inside walls of sewer pipes. This is easily avoidable if people are made aware of what they may and may not dispose of in their sinks and toilets.
“Side sewers,” which connect the home’s sewer line to the main municipal sewer line, are the responsibility of the property owner. Many homeowners will need to have their lines snaked or derooted by reputable sewer cleaning contractors or plumbers at least once a year. Homeowners can also perform DIY jobs, and use chemical treatments to keep their side sewers free of roots and other obstructions.
Fortunately, companies like Haaker Equipment Company rent out and sell heavy-duty industrial and sewer cleaning equipment, such as Vactor trucks and Elgin street sweepers. They also sell sewer cleaning tools like the Envirosight sewer camera, as well as jetters and rodders. Such tools and equipment will arm municipal authorities and contractors with the arsenal they’ll need to get the job done.