Specially-trained dogs used to sniff out sewer problems

Two specially-trained dogs can sniff out sewer problems under the streets. Now, several communities are calling upon "Environmental Canine Services" to get the job done.

From recent flooding in Shorewood, to raw sewage running into Lake Michigan, to high Ecoli levels on beaches, there has been a problem pinpointing where sanitary sewer pipes are leaking into the storm system.

Scott Reynolds owns "Environmental Canine Services." He came from Michigan with his dogs, which he says have about a 94% accuracy rate in finding human waste leaking into clean systems.

"We have Sable and Logan. Sable actually barks when he detects human sewage and Logan will do a sit," said Reynolds. "The great thing about it is that it's a rapid screening method so you're on the fly. You can do several locations in a very short period of time."

The dogs help in pinpointing where a problem resides. That can save a lot of time and effort.

"This is a really unique cost effective way to use the dogs to smell just human waste, not any other type of waste and detergent which would come from your laundry and dishwasher. So we'll be doing further tests and it will be correlated and it will be a large community educational outreach program," said Kae DonLevy of the Shorewood Waters Project.

After the dogs sniff in the manholes, the goal is to fix the problems and stop raw sewage from reaching the lake.

Using the dogs could save a municipality thousands of dollars. Of course, who pays to have the leaking pipes fixes is still a question.