Sewer Smoke Testing


Public Services Department is currently tracing inflow and infiltration using smoke testing methods. Staff is looking for unwanted ground water infiltration into the sewer system, as well as direct inflow thru broken clean outs. When pipes are broken, rain water flows directly into the system, exceeding the water volume for which the system was designed.

Smoke testing utilizes a gas powered engine placed on top of and open manhole and linked to a blower fan. A non-toxic, non-staining chemical is added to the exhaust of the motor which is converted into smoke and fills the void in the piping buried under ground. If the pipe is broken, smoke will come out of the ground alerting staff to areas that need repaired.

In the past, this type of testing has led to calls to the Fire & Rescue Department when residents have observed smoke in their homes. In some situations, smoke may enter homes due to a bad wax ring seal under a toilet, bad plumbing joint in a crawl space, or a dried out p-trap on a plumbing fixture. Please follow proper procedures when calling the Fire & Rescue Department. The smoke has no odor, appears light gray in color, and will not act like smoke from a fire. In most occasions, as long as vent stacks on the house are not clogged, the smoke will pass thru the plumbing and out the home’s vent stack.


Pineview Street, Bryan Street, Nunn Street, N Nunn Street, Shepard Street, Smith Circle, Tuttle Street, Daniels Court, Speight Street, Craven Drive, Donnell Avenue, and Karol Drive

Please contact the Public Services Department at (252) 444-6409 with any questions or concerns.


Timothy Bert

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