Wastewater System Inspections and Smoke Testing

Click here to learn more about smoke testing.

Current Work Areas

  • Mini-Basin 39B1 (South Knoxville - Chapman highway, Lippencott Street, Martin Mill Pike, Blount Avenue, and Hawthorne Avenue areas)
  • Mini-Basins 12A2 and 12A3 (Northwest Knoxville - Cumberland Estates area)
  • Mini-Basic 04C2a (North Knoxville - Rockrest Road, Maple Drive, Jayne Lane, and Fair Drive areas in Fountain City)
  • Mini-Basin 10C1 (Northwest Knoxville - Wilson Road, Tillery Road, Gap Road, and Cassell Drive areas)
  • Mini-Basin 17A1a (North Knoxville – N Broadway, Coker Avenue, Howard Steet, McCroskey Avenue areas)
  • Mini-Basin 17A1b (Old North Knoxville – Armstrong Avenue, East Glenwood Avenue, Kenyon Street, N Broadway areas)
  • Mini-Basin 30B1 (Downtown Knoxville – James White Parkway, Summit Hill Avenue, Walnut Avenue, Hill Avenue areas)

KUB is stepping up wastewater system inspection and cleaning throughout our service area to improve the system and help protect our environment. Our efforts include both a systematic approach to cleaning the entire system and a more concentrated Blockage Abatement program (BA). 

BA uses regularly scheduled inspection and cleaning to help prevent problems in sewer pipes with a history of blockage-related overflows. The BA program includes 111 miles of pipe located throughout the wastewater system, and scheduled cleaning frequencies range from once a month in areas with chronic problems to once every 42 months. 

KUB adjusts the schedule if follow-up inspections show a pipe needs more or less cleaning. Pipes with a history of blockage-related problems stay on the BA program until they are rehabilitated or replaced. 

Both systemwide cleaning and BA include periodic inspection with remote control cameras and smoke testing to help evaluate the condition of the pipe. Regular inspections help identify potential problems and direct cleaning and rehabilitation efforts. Cleaning helps prevent blockages and reduces sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in the environment and backups in customers' homes or on their property. 

Crews access sewer pipes through manholes in the street, in easements, or on customers' property. These crews do not dig or otherwise damage streets or property. 

Remote-control cameras assess pipe condition and identify areas where roots or debris may be a problem. 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 repair. Repairs deemed necessary are usually scheduled for later instead of being done during the investigation process. 

Crews in the field try to contact customers before accessing manholes on their property. If the customer is not available, crews will leave a door hanger that explains whether the crew was able to access the manhole that day or whether they need the customer to arrange access. The door hanger includes a KUB contact number customers can call if they have questions or need to arrange access. 

All KUB employees and designated contractor representatives have KUB photo ID badges. The crews may need access to manholes on your property for sewer cleaning and inspection work, but they won't need to enter your home or business. 

Remember: KUB employees rarely have reason to enter your home unless you have made an appointment. For your safety, always ask to see KUB ID before letting someone claiming to be from KUB into your home. Call KUB at 524-2911 to verify employee ID or find out if a crew is working in your area.