KUB regularly inspects its wastewater system using various methods. KUB crews access wastewater pipes through manholes in the street, in easements, or on customers' property without digging or damaging property. Some digging may be required to uncover buried manholes.

Crews use robotic closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and smoke testing to evaluate the condition of the pipe regularly to identify potential problems and prevent blockages. Crews use high-pressure water and mechanical root cutters to clear pipes and remove roots, and they vacuum debris out at a downstream manhole. Broken or deteriorated pipes are reported and prioritized for replacement or repair. 

Crews contact customers directly or leave an informative door hanger before accessing manholes on private property. All KUB employees and designated contractor representatives have KUB photo ID badges and will not need to enter customers' homes for this work. Customers may call KUB at 865-524-2911 to verify an employee's identification or find out if a crew is working nearby.

Blockage Abatement Program 

If pipes have a history of blockage-related sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), they become part of KUB's Blockage Abatement Program, which includes approximately 110 miles of pipe. These pipes are inspected and cleaned on frequency schedules that vary based on the age and findings of the most recent inspection. When pipes are rehabilitated or replaced, they are removed from the Blockage Abatement Program.

More About Smoke Testing

During smoke testing, contract crews send smoke into wastewater pipes through manholes where the smoke helps pinpoint places where outside water may be entering the wastewater system including uncapped customer lateral cleanouts and prohibited connections.

KUB sends postcards to customers ahead of smoke testing, and contractors leave door hangers two to three days before testing on a particular street. The smoke is non-toxic and non-staining, is not a fire hazard, and will not harm children, pets, or plants. 

Click here for an example of smoke testing.

Current Work Areas