As part of Mount Pleasant Waterworks’ Infiltration and Inflow Maintenance Program crews inspect pipes with robotic cameras and use smoke testing to locate cracks in pipes.
The smoke testing process involves using a device to inject a harmless smoke into sewer manholes, then watching to see where the smoke escapes.
It is normal for smoke to come out of vent pipes on roofs of homes and buildings, this does not indicate a problem. However, if smoke emerges from storm drains or rises from lawns, sidewalks, or the street, that does indicate a problem, such as a cracked pipe, damaged manhole, or connection with a storm drain, etc.
Before conducting smoke testing, Mount Pleasant Waterworks notifies the fire department and customers in the affected area.
What to Expect During Smoke Testing
Smoke is supposed to escape through sewer vent pipes on roofs. These vent pipes are connected to your wastewater plumbing to allow wastewater gases to vent outside.
Occasionally, the harmless smoke will enter a home. This indicates there is a problem with the sewer plumbing in the home. If smoke enters the home, that means sewer gases are also entering the home. Contact a licensed plumber to make repairs.
Why is Smoke Testing Necessary?
The wastewater system was designed to collect waste from homes and businesses, not rain water or ground water. When rain or ground water enters the wastewater system through cracked pipes, it takes up needed capacity in the wastewater system, especially during heavy rain events. In severe cases, this can potentially cause wastewater system overflows, which are an environmental and public health hazard.
To prevent this unwanted infiltration and inflow into the sewer system, we try to find and fix problems with wastewater pipes and manholes that allow entry. Before conducting smoke testing, Mount Pleasant Waterworks notifies the fire department and customers in the affected area.