Lawton officials hope smoke test ends sewer smell at Old Central fire station

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The City of Lawton has started the process of getting rid of the strong sewer odor at the old Central Fire Station, by using smoke tests.

Obviously, odors aren’t something you can see, which makes it more difficult to find sewer leaks which are causing the smell. City Officials said smoke testing will help solve this issue.

After multiple complaints of a sewage smell, the City of Lawton chose to use smoke testing to help find any cracks in the sewer lines of the old central fire station. They said if they see smoke, there’s a leak.

“There’s quite a few in there. I mean obviously, it’s an older building. But yeah there are quite a few areas in there that need addressing, to help to eliminate the smells,” said Hinton.

Wastewater Superintendent for the City Glenn Hinton said his department normally focuses on city water mains, but this is an unusual case.

“Obviously with this being a fire station and it’s a city-owned building that’s why we are assisting with that,” Hinton said.

The reason behind the leaks, the old central fire station was built in 1930 which means cast iron plumbing was used during the construction.

“Now we have gone through and moved to PVC and things of that nature. It’s a little bit more durable and lasts a little bit longer. But I believe there are some cast iron issues where they have split or deteriorated or rusted out over time,” Bobby Sparks, the building construction specialist for the City of Lawton, said.

Sparks said they completed a lot of prep work to ensure the smoke test is necessary. This included filling P traps or drains, where sewer smells could possibly escape.

“That will let hydrogen sulfide or methane into the building, which is a safety issue. So what we go do, we will take care of that first. And, once that is done, and if there is a sewer smell that is still coming through, we will go through a do a smoke test,” Sparks said.

Sparks said Tuesday’s smoke test only took 15 minutes and now the city will develop a plan to take care of the problem.

“Better alternative right now is going to be looking at PVC. Going through and venting everything with PVC,” Spark said.

They believe they should be able to work around the people who currently work at the old central fire station and other surrounding businesses.

“This should really not affect the neighborhood. Once everything is completed, we may go through and do another smoke test,” Sparks said.