Smoke testing shows leaks in Coos Bay sewer lines

COOS BAY, Ore. -- 300 Coos Bay residents will soon receive letters in the mail, requiring them to make some home improvements.

In the last few weeks, the city has been pumping smoke into the city's sewage system to check for leaks.

If small amounts of smoke were seen near a property by city engineers, that means that there is a leak that needs to be fixed.

Required repairs can range from a cheap fix to patching a leaky pipe.

Jessica Spann, a Coos Bay engineering technician, says just because you might get a letter, it doesn't mean you are going to be out big bucks. "So, we just sent out a general notification letting you know that you could have one of these potential problems wrong," she said. "That doesn't mean you have all of them, you may just have a clean out cap missing. So, that's an easy fix. You just go down to your local hardware store and pick up one and put it on there."

The city is required by state law to check for the leaks.

Faulty pipes can often allow more water into the city's sewage system than it is designed to handle.