Did You See Smoke from the Sewer Vent Pipes in your Neighborhood?

September 9, 2016


by Len Lathrop

Smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system began in the Sleepy Hollow section of town on Tuesday morning.  The Hollow section of Hudson, according to residents, includes the homes in the area boundered by Melendy, Belknap and Pelham roads.

The first manhole to be opened was on Tate Street just below the intersection of Gulf Street.  Air was blown into the sewer with a small gasoline engine to which a smoke agent is added; within seconds, smoke could be seen escaping through sewer vent pipes on homeowners’ roofs.  That is a good thing; however, if smoke is found coming out of peoples’ yards or driveways or away from manhole covers than that is indicative of a leak in that sewer line.

A leak in a line might allow surface water to infiltrate the line and that would increase the amount of waste water that Hudson sent to the Nashua treatment facility for processing.

Hudson has a limit on the amount of capacity from the Nashua treatment plant.  Hudson owns 12.5 percent of the treatment plant and has to manage the capacity of what is sent there.  The highway department has worked hard over the past several years to limit the amount of surface runoff from getting into the sewers.  Currently the town’s excess capacity is rough 70,000 gallons per day.

You ask why this is important.  It plans into industrial and commercial development in town; the more industry that is in town the lower the residential taxes are.  But the rub is the industry needs both water and sewer allotments.  When a business wants to come to town or expand the town needs to have both utilities available.  As the excess is expanded it can be reallocated to new businesses looking at Hudson to become their home.

On Tuesday morning the testing was going well and no problems were uncovered.  You do not need to be home during this test and the smoke that you may see is non-toxic and not harmful to pets.  If you have any questions call the highway department at 886-6018 or engineering department at 886-6008.