FAQs

Smoke Testing FAQs

Q:  How does smoke testing work?
A: 

Smoke testing forces smoke-filled air through a sewer line. The smoke under pressure fills the main sewer line plus any connections. It follows the path of leaks in the system to quickly reveal the source of the problem.

Q:  Why is the City doing smoke testing?
A: 

Smoke testing is an efficient and cost effective way to locate and identify cracks and illegal cross connections in the pipes. Smoke testing is used across the country for identifying these  types of issues.

Q:  Will smoke testing of the sewers allow smoke to get into my home or apartment?
A: 

Smoke should not enter your home unless your plumbing drain traps are dry, are missing or if your pipes are broken. Drains that are used once every several weeks should be okay. If you are not sure, simply run water down the drain for a minute to be sure that the trap is not dry. It is important to locate dry or missing traps as they could allow sewer gas into your home or apartment.

Q:  Is the smoke harmful?
A: 

This process is approved by the EPA and has been safely used for more than 20 years

Q:  What should I do if smoke gets into my house or apartment?
A: 

Contact a field crew member working in the area or call the SARP10 Hotline at (901) 452.2385. Open the windows. The smoke should disappear soon after.

Q:  How will I know when the testing is scheduled to occur?
A: 

Typically our team will place a door hanger on your front door two or three days before smoke testing starts in your area. Occasionally weather conditions may impact or delay our testing schedule.

Q:  I will not be home during smoke testing and have pets in the house. Is the smoke harmful to pets? What should I do?
A: 

This process is approved by the EPA and has been safely used for more than 20 years.  It will be a good idea to leave several windows partially open for ventilation, in the unlikely event that smoke does enter the building.

Q:  Can smoke plug the sewer?
A: 

There is no way that smoke can plug the sewer; it is vapor/mist.

Q:  Where does the smoke appear?
A: 

Smoke may be seen coming from roof vents, building foundations, manhole covers or yard cleanouts. Smoke coming from roof vents on homes is a normal occurrence and allows the crews to know that smoke has filled the sewers.

Q:  What happens if the SARP10 team finds a bad sewer connection or leak?
A: 

This information will be documented by city workers for further investigation or repair.

Q:  Will rodents be smoked out?
A: 

No.

Q:  How can I do my part to keep the sewer system clean?
A: 

Can it. Properly dispose of fatty meat trimmings, grease and debris in cans and/or waste containers instead of rinsing it down your drain.