TriCo Regional Sewer Utility

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Smoke Testing

Lateral Inspection
Smoke testing is the cheapest and most effective method of finding sources of inflow and infiltration. Inflow and infiltration is defined as clean water not needing treatment, such as rain water. Collecting this type of flow is extremely taxing on a system intended to only handle sanitary sewage. Smoke test inspections are performed by isolating segments of sewer lines and forcing a harmless smoke through the system. The smoke travels until it escapes from roof vents or through cracks in the sewer, as well as improper or illegal connections.
A properly installed and maintained plumbing system will prevent smoke from entering your home or business. This is accomplished by:
  • Eliminating all improper and illegal connections to the sanitary sewer system such as downspouts, sump pumps, field drains, etc. If you are unsure of such connections, feel free to contact us or a professional plumber for assistance.
  • Properly maintaining your fixture's "p-traps". Keeping all of your drain traps filled with water seals your home from the sewer, preventing nuisance odors, harmful gases and in this case smoke from entering you home. This is accomplished by running a small amount of fresh water through infrequently used fixtures such as basement floor drains, spare bathrooms, dishwashers, etc.
Although the smoke is relatively harmless, people should avoid prolonged contact with the smoke, as it may be irritating to nasal passages. Any smoke irritation will be temporary and should disperse quickly once exposure has ceased. It is recommended that people with heart and respiratory ailments leave the house during the test.
Dry ground conditions are the optimal time to perform this type of inspection. Schedules will be weather dependent, but you will be notified in a number of ways when the time approaches.

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