Smoke Testing

The primary reason for smoke testing is used to find possible leaks in the County's sanitary sewer system. Here are some important points regarding smoke testing:
  • When you receive notice that smoke testing will take place, you should check to see that all drain traps under basins, washing facilities and floor drains have water in them. To do so, simply flush toilets and run water into all drains for at least 10 seconds.
  • Plumbing traps shouldn't evaporate/dry out in a 30 day period.
  • If you aren't home and the testing is done in the morning and you return in the afternoon/evening, there will be no evidence of smoke if you have a leak. There may be lingering odor of sewer gases. In this event, call a plumber.
  • If smoke enters your home or business during testing, open windows to allow ventilation and note the location of the smoke. Smoke will dissipate in a few minutes. A plumber should be called.
  • If smoke does get into your home or business, the time it takes to dissipate will depend on how well you can ventilate.
  • Although the smoke is harmless, residents/business owners are being asked to notify Department of Public Works, Utilities Division at 757-890-3750 to notify us of anyone with respiratory problems, elderly individuals, or the physically incapacitated. Our inspectors will have this data on-site for informational purposes.
  • The smoke is not harmful to pets however; it would be a good idea to leave windows partially open for ventilation should any smoke enter your residence or building.
  • Smoke detectors can be set off by the smoke but carbon monoxide detectors can not.
  • If your area hasn't been tested 30 days after receiving notification, there isn't a problem, it's likely that it has something to do with the weather especially significant rain as the ground needs to be generally dry.