Your Own Utilities To Conduct Smoke Test on Sewer Lines

By: City of Tallahassee Release
By: City of Tallahassee Release

Testing Takes Place Dec. 6-15 - To enhance wastewater infrastructure and improve operations, the City of Tallahassee's Underground Utilities will conduct smoke testing of the sewer system in the Dale Mabry/Mabry Manor neighborhood and vicinity.

City crews, assisted by the contractor Utility Sealing Services, will perform this routine, safe and preventative maintenance work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting. The work is expected to be completed by Dec. 15. Residents do not need to be home during the testing, which usually takes about 15 minutes. Notification along with 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 Charles Savering, program engineer with the 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 billow from manhole covers and vent stacks on roofs, it should not enter homes. To reduce the likelihood of it 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.

As recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, smoke testing has been used extensively throughout the country. For more information, please call 891-4YOU (4968) or visit online at

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