Smoke testing consists of introducing non-toxic smoke into sanitary sewer pipe sections under moderate pressure. An inspection crew will travel throughout the neighborhood, lifting manhole lids, setting out testing equipment, and entering yards to observe and record the smoke testing. Before smoke testing occurs in your area, residents and property owners will receive a letter with additional information.
Since the smoke will be placed into the sewer system that is connected to homes, residents are encouraged to pour tap water into their floor drains and sinks. This small amount of water creates a seal that keeps the smoke out of the homes. Residents do not need to be present during smoke testing.
Dry traps, drains without traps, and other plumbing defects will allow the smoke to enter the dwelling connected to the sewer line that is being tested. The smoke is non-toxic, leaves no residue, and creates no fire hazard. If a resident is present and smoke enters the house or building, please report all locations to the work crews and open a window to allow the smoke to dissipate. It may also be desirable to contact a plumber if the smoke enters the house in a manner other than a dry drain trap.
Smoke testing is most effective when performed during the times that the ground is dry, such as August and September. For additional information, call the City of Dubuque I&I Information line at 563-690-6113.