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Dye Testing

Over the next 12 years, the City of Atlanta will inspect, repair and where necessary, replace every foot of the 2,200 miles of sanitary sewers. This unprecedented $1.2 billion project is an integral part of the City’s comprehensive efforts to meet and surpass all federal and state water quality standards.

The successful completion of the Clean Water Atlanta projects will benefit Atlanta’s citizens and ratepayers, and our neighbors downstream and throughout the region by providing the infrastructure necessary to improve water quality and sustain Atlanta’s economic vitality.

The SSES project is the first step in bringing Atlanta’s aging sewer system up to world class/modern-day standards and protecting Atlanta ratepayers’ quality of life by eliminating Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). Through the efforts of the SSES, approximately 60,000 manholes and 2,200 miles of sanitary sewers will be inspected for cracks, collapses, and blockages. After extensive investigation and documentation of defects is completed, a rehabilitation plan will be developed, identifying necessary sewer repairs and replacement. In severe situations, immediate repair may be required.

One of the methods being used to survey the sewer lines is non-toxic dye testing.


What is dye testing and why is it conducted?
Dye testing is a method used to locate rain or ground water entry points into the sanitary sewer system. During this process, non-toxic dyed water is introduced into roof drain leaders, driveway drains, or area drains. In some instances, dyed water is injected into the ground around foundations to check for the illegal connection of foundation drains. After introducing the dyed water, the downstream sanitary sewer manhole is checked, or if an inspection port is present, it is checked for dyed water. Dye testing with a non-toxic dye is one way of determining where a pipe or structure drains to if it is not obvious by observation or on existing plans or records. By conducting dye testing, inappropriate connections can be identified. For instance, if a dye is introduced to a catch basin and the dye is then observed in the sanitary sewer downstream from that point, this would indicate that the catch basin is directly connected to the sanitary sewer system.

Is the dye safe? Is the dye permanent?
The dye is non-toxic and cleans up with water. It is highly unlikely that a citizen would come in direct contact with the dye.

How will I know when and if dye testing is being conducted in my area?
The residents of the affected testing area will receive notices 1 week prior to testing. Contact numbers will be provided if you should have any questions or concerns.

What if I am not home when the crew comes to test?
Unless access is needed to plumbing inside your home, you may not need to be home during testing. If access is needed, the testing crew will contact you personally prior to the scheduled testing.

For more information, please contact the Project Hotline at 404.546.3200.

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