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Downtown Durham residents might want to keep a lid on their toilets

Posted August 7
Updated August 8

— As if the eternal debate over keeping the toilet seat down isn't enough, some Durham households now just might want to keep a lid on the whole thing for a while.

Durham officials said Monday that they will be cleaning and inspecting downtown sewer lines over the next two months, and the use of high-pressure water jets could create "blow back" in some homes, with water and foul odors gurgling out of toilets.

"That sounds pretty gross, to be honest," Durham resident Ricky Kruse said.

"I can imagine what that is I would not like that at all," resident Anne Fifer said.

Plumber Sam Lockany knows a lot about blow back.

"You'll hear it before you'll see it," Lockany said. "You would know your whole house. It would be a not-so-settling noise."

Blow back doesn't happen often, he said.

"It's not going to hurt most things, but there's a chance," he said. "One in a million. Everybody's got that luck."

Durham residents said they have been forewarned and will take the appropriate actions.

"I'm going to keep that closed just in case because I don't want to clean that up later," Sajinn Dapprich said.

"I think that I'll not go into a public restroom for a while," Fifer said.

"I think its pretty yucky, but I’m not sure what we can do about it. Sewage stuff needs to be cleaned out," Jessica Ryan said.

Other work involved in the routine maintenance project includes closed-circuit television inspections of pipes, removing debris from and inspecting manholes, non-toxic dye testing to verify active sewer services and non-toxic smoke testing of existing sewer infrastructure in which plumes of white smoke might be seen escaping from manholes, drains and other structures.

As part of the work, planned lane closures will occur this week on West Peabody Street, Gregson Street between West Main and Chapel Hill streets, Memorial Street, Burch Avenue, Duke Street between Chapel Hill and Memorial streets, Chapel Hill Street between William Vickers Avenue and Ramseur Street, William Vickers Avenue and Jackson Street.

Durham sewer map

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