BY LIZA STROUT - The Boca Grande Fire Department is being kept busy this week, responding to smoke alarms in homes across the island. Most have been set off by smoke testing through sewer pipes, conducted by the Gasparilla Island Water Association.
Recently GIWA announced that they would be smoke testing their lines during the week and sent out an alert to homeowners and local papers on July 24.
While the appearance of smoke pouring out of pipes can be disturbing, in most cases it is not a sign of bad pipes. Included in the alert was the recommendation that several gallons of water be poured down any drains that are rarely used, in order to ensure that the traps, bends in the pipes that prevent the reflux of gases from “downstream,” were filled with water. The water provides the physical barrier to sewer gas in a trap.
If there is no water when the smoke test is performed, then smoke can enter the house. With the large number of vacant houses on the island this time of year, the alarms have been going off.
If you see smoke in your home, open windows and doors to ventilate your house and let the testing crews working in your area know about the smoke.
The smoke is vegetable-oil based and has no adverse effect on people or animals.
It is expected that smoke will come out of vent stacks and manhole covers around the island, but any smoke seen coming from holes in the ground should be reported.
GIWA will alert homeowners by mail if any issues are found on their property.
If you have any questions about the testing, contact GIWA at 964-2423.
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