Air surrounding Wildwood Avenue neighborhoods, homes and their residents is now smoke-free following a week of testing by Cleveland Utilities and contractors whose crews this week are moving on to the Inman Street region.
Known collectively as the Wildwood and Inman Street Basin on CU maps when speaking of the utility’s 10-year sewer rehabilitation program, the East Cleveland area is the latest to undergo smoke testing to help identify breaks and cracks in the existing wastewater collection lines.
Officially, the $30 million project — now well into its second year — is known as SCOPE 10, an acronym for Strategic Commitment to Protect the Environment.
In order for crews to know where to make repairs in damaged pipes, a nontoxic smoke is pumped into the system. Areas where smoke rises and becomes visible from the ground are marked. These are spots where aging sewer lines over the years have developed defects. These breaks or cracks in lines or manholes allow for inflow and infiltration of ground or storm water.
I/I is the biggest contributor of manhole overflows, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Such overflows are linked to isolated flooding along city streets and can also become a health hazard if not held in check. This is the purpose of SCOPE 10, a comprehensive sewer rehabilitation program whose task is to curtail levels of I/I that are causing manhole overflows.
Greg Clark, CU wastewater rehabilitation manager, said now that the latest phase of sewer rehab has completed smoke testing in the Wildwood Avenue (last week), crews are moving on to the basin’s second half — Inman Street — throughout this week.
Neighborhoods and streets that can expect to see utility and contractor crews smoke testing include: High Street, 2nd Street (N.E. and S.E.), Fair Street, Powell Street, Lang Street, East Street, Inman Street, 3rd Street (N.E. and S.E.), 1st Street (N.E. and S.E.), Sheppard Street, Berry Street, Gaut Street, Dooley Street, McKamy Street, Short Street, Bible Street, Bates Street, Central Avenue, 4th Street (N.E. and S.E.), 6th Street, Wildwood Avenue, Cincinnati Avenue, King Edward Avenue, Linden Avenue and Mill Street.
Area residents are reminded smoke testing is done in dry conditions. In the event of rainfall, the project can be delayed depending on the severity of precipitation.
The Wildwood and Inman Street Basin is the first phase of SCOPE 10 to be funded through a $10 million financing package known as the State Revolving Fund Loan program. CU and the city of Cleveland were recently awarded a low-interest loan in two pieces.
One is for $1,826,000 which includes a $451,022 debt forgiveness and the second is for $8,174,000. Both loans are 20-year terms and are at a fixed rate of 1.15 percent. As CU gradually repays the SRF loans, the money is pumped back into the state program and later doled out to other Tennessee communities as low-interest loans to fund future water and wastewater projects.
As he has done during past phases of SCOPE 10 smoke testing, Clark issued several reminders to neighborhood residents where crews are working:
- Residents who are at home at the time of smoke testing, or at their businesses, can expect to see smoke escape through vent stacks on the roof of their houses or businesses.
- If smoke can be seen inside the house or business, it is an indicator of possible plumbing defects that should be addressed by the home or business owner.
- The smoke used is made specifically for this type of testing. It appears white and offers a slight odor of mineral oil. It is not a fire hazard, leaves no residue and is nontoxic; however, it may cause minor throat irritation if too much is inhaled.
- Residents with respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections should leave their residence if smoke should enter their home.
The SRF loans are expected to keep SCOPE 10 afloat for several years. The total project could take as long as a decade or more to complete.