Sanitary Sewer System – Smoke Testing Program

Smoke Testing Program- Portion has been completed

The Department of Public Works will be conducting a sewer system study to determine where storm-water may be entering the sanitary sewer system. Storm-water, sometimes referred to as inflow, can enter the system during periods of wet weather through many sources including catch basins, damaged manholes, roof leaders, sump pumps, and basement drains. When present in excessive amounts, inflow increases the cost to operate the sewer system and can contribute to undesirable backups in the sewer system resulting in flooded basements and raw sewage overflows. Smoke testing of the sanitary sewers will help to locate these sources of inflow to the system.

The smoke testing operation involves blowing smoke into the sanitary sewer system to locate leaks and possible hazards to your health. The smoke is non-toxic, non-staining, and does not leave a residue. More than likely the smoke will not enter your building unless your plumbing is defective. If the smoke does enter your building, do not be alarmed, open all windows to aid in the evacuation of the smoke and notify the field crew outside, who will be in the general area. Caution must be used if smoke does enter your building since all smoke can irritate breathing passages without respiratory protection.

Your cooperation during the smoke-testing program will expedite the work effort.  This work is scheduled to commence on June 21st and be completed by the end of July weather permitting. The smoke testing will take place within the shaded areas on the attached map. For your information purposes, the Fire, Police, and Public Works Department are aware of the work and will assist as necessary.

All residents connected to the sanitary sewers will be notified with a hand delivered notice 48 hours before the testing begins.

If you have any questions regarding the smoke testing program feel free to contact to Marc Besio by email at or by phone at 617-730-2142.