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Sanitary Smoke Testing

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The Sanitary Smoke Testing project is completed and the Town thanks residents for the their patience and cooperation during this work. 

The Town completed the testing to detect leaks and cross-connections in the infrastructure. The testing was completed by injecting a harmless and non-damaging smoke throughout the Town’s sewer system. Crews detected leaks and other issues by monitoring for smoke seeping through the ground, manholes, or weeping tiles. A drone was also used to monitor the testing area to identify leaks at all angles.


 Why is the Town doing this testing? 
Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing is used by towns to detect leaks and cross-connections in the infrastructure. It enables municipalities to detect issues in the sewer system and then plan and complete the necessary repairs. It helps ensure the sanitary system is operating as efficiently as possible.
 How is the testing completed?

The testing is completed by injecting a harmless, odourless, non-damaging smoke into the Town's sanitary sewer system. Crews then monitor to see where the smoke emerges. If the sanitary system is in good condition, then the smoke emerges from manholes and other designated vent areas. If there are issued with the system, then the smoke will emerge where there is a leak in the pipes such as through cracks in the street / sidewalk or residential yards. 

A three or four-person crew conducts the tests. Each crew member will have proper identification and use well-marked vehicles. While the smoke is being injected into the sewers, the crews will monitor the testing area and document an areas where leaks are detected. A drone is also used to monitor the testing area to identify leaks at all angles.

Is the smoke used for testing harmful?

A harmless, odourless, non-damaging smoke is used for the testing. The smoke is not harmful to people, pets, or house plants. It does not harm or stain clothes, drapes, or furniture. It is not flammable and does not create a fire hazard.

If smoke appears from a drain inside your residence, open windows and ventilate well to dissipate the smoke. 

Will I have smoke coming into my house?

In most cases, residents will not see smoke in their homes during this testing.

It is possible that smoke could enter a residence through a drain trap which has dried out or some other plumbing defect such as an untrapped washing machine drain, cracked pipe, garbage disposal or dishwasher not installed correctly.

If you do notice this smoke in your home, locate one of the testing crew members and they will assist you in locating where the smoke entered your home or you can call the Town at 782-1400. 

Do I have to be home when smoke testing is being performed?

No, you do not need to be home when the testing is on-going and no time will a field crew member need to enter your home.

If I see smoke in my house, what should I do? 

If you see smoke in your home during a testing time, please contact the Town at 782-1400 to notify us and open a window or door for a few minutes so the smoke will dissipate. As the smoke is harmless and non-damaging, there will be no impact to residents or residential properties. 

The testing involves an odour-free smoke which does not indicate fire. However, should residents detect a burning smell or smoke that is unrelated to the testing and instead may be stemming from a fire, to please call 911 immediately to reach the St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) for emergency response.

If I smell smoke or get a burning smell, what should I do?

You should not smell smoke during this testing as it involves an odour-free smoke. 

If you get a burning smell or smoke in your home, call 911 immediately to reach the St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) for emergency response. The Town has notified the SJRFD about the sanitary smoke testing.