WVU Tech students team up with Beckley Sanitary Board for a smoke test

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) –Students from WVU Tech had the opportunity to join the Beckley Sanitary Board out in the field during a smoke test Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

The BSB performs smoke tests on their sewer lines to identify leaks, poor connections, and issues within their system. Shawneha Finnimore is the President of the local Society of Civil Engineers chapter as well as a student at Tuesday’s test.

“The community is actually being involved with the school that’s here so its helping us get involved with the community its helping us learn that these are the experiments that we’ll be able to have and learn from,” Finnimore said.

The non-toxic smoke is pumped into sewer lines. employees can then see leak out from problem areas. This smoke can find issues like broken pipes, improper connections, and homes that have their storm water systems tied into the city’s sewer system. Students were asked to mark these problem issues with flags and document the location on maps which the BSB will later use for addressing these problems.

Environmental Specialist with the BSB, Luke Stevens, was on site for Tuesday’s test with students.

“This is tremendous in a lot of way for us. Logistically it really helps with this kind of field assessment to have extra feet on the ground and eyes on our system, and eyes that know what they are looking for and are going into the field of engineering.” – Luke Stevens

Students were supervised by their professor Dr. Brian Dickman and employees with the Beckley Sanitary Board. This partnership not only helps future civil engineers still in school but the community at large by helping the Sanitary Board identify issues in order to keep their systems at peak operation.

At Tuesday’s test, students identified issues with broken lines and one home whose gutters and stormwater runoff were tied into the sewer systems. All issues the BSB will look to correct. Residents of Fairview and Dexter streets with concerns from Tuesday’s smoke test are asked to contact the Beckley Sanitary Board.

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