Smoke Testing of Sewer System

In the coming months, Public Works employees with the City of Archdale will be “smoke testing” sewer lines around the City.  These tests will help identify defects in the sewer system which may unintentionally allow rain and surface water to flow into the lines.

To perform the tests, staff will force air and smoke into sewer manholes and then observe locations where smoke exits the sewer system.  During these tests, smoke will be seen exiting manholes, sewer cleanouts, or even from pipes on homes that are connected to the public sewer system.  The smoke should not enter buildings or homes unless there is a defect in the property’s sewer system.  Should smoke be observed, do not be alarmed.  It is a non-toxic, non-staining water vapor, and it will dissipate in minutes.

The Archdale Police, Guil-Rand Fire Department, and citizens in the neighborhoods being tested will receive notice before the smoke tests are performed to limit concerns from the sight of smoke.  If notified of smoke tests in your area, it is advised that you pour water into basement floor drains and any unused sinks.  The water creates a seal which will limit the opportunity for smoke to enter your building or home.

The smoke test is an effort to ensure the sewer system is not taking in rain water.  Rain water flowing into sewer lines (inflow) can overburden pump stations leading to sewer overflows.  Limiting inflow also decreases the amount of wastewater sent to the Eastside treatment plant, therefore decreasing costs