City To Conduct Smoke Test On Sewer Lines

By: City of Tallahassee Email
By: City of Tallahassee Email

Press Release: City of Tallahassee

In its continued commitment to enhance wastewater infrastructure and protect the environment, the City of Tallahassee’s Underground Utilities will conduct smoke testing in several areas beginning on Monday, July 15. This preventative maintenance work will help identify leaks, defects and stormwater inflows in the sewer system, thereby improving wastewater treatment operations and efficiency.

The first phase will focus on a portion of Settler’s Springs, specifically North Settlers Boulevard, Teton Trail and Setter Place. Subsequent work will take place on Gum Road and in the vicinity of West Tennessee and West Tharpe streets between Capital Circle NW and Mission Road. The final phase, expected to begin on July 22, includes SummerBrooke, Cortona Hills, Coventry Banks and Oak Grove Plantation neighborhoods as well as the northwest portion of Ox Bottom Manor.

City crews, assisted by the contractor Utility Sealing Systems, will perform this safe, routine work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting. The project is scheduled to be completed by early August. Residents and business staff do not need to be at home or at their properties during the testing, which usually takes about 15 minutes. Notification and detailed information will be provided via door hangers prior to testing.

“This is the most efficient and cost effective means to identify the source of leaks and infiltration into the sewer system,” said Jamie Freeman, civil engineer with the City’s Water Resources Engineering Division. "Locating and eliminating those leaks is an ongoing effort by Underground Utilities to improve the performance of the sanitary sewer system."

The test consists of forcing safe, vegetable oil-derived smoke into the sewer lines and observing where it escapes in order to determine the location of leaks and defects. Odorless and safe, the smoke leaves no residuals or stains and has no adverse effect on people, plants or animals.

While smoke can be expected to flow out of manhole covers and vent stacks on roofs, it should not enter homes. To reduce the likelihood of smoke entering a building, the City recommends that residents in affected areas pour 2-3 gallons of water into seldom-used sinks and floor drains, where the smoke could arise due to lack of water pressure.

For more information, please call 891-4YOU (4968) or visit

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