Smoke Testing

The Fayetteville Public Works Commission conducts a comprehensive inspection of PWC sewer lines that feed the Rockfish Creek and Cross Creek Water Reclamation Facilities. The testing began in April of 2008 and is on-going. Inspections will be conducted in various locations throughout the PWC sanitary sewer system. To view an information video about smoke testing, click here. To view MSDS information on the smoke, click here.

PWC crews regularly inspect sanitary sewer lines using a smoke test to locate breaks and defects in the sewer systems. Smoke testing involves ‘injecting’ a non-toxic white to gray colored smoke into sewer lines through manholes located within public streets and utility easements.

Under normal conditions, residents will see smoke come through the roof vent at the top our your home indicating you are connected to the sewer system. In some cases where homes or building have defective plumbing or dried up drain traps, the smoke will enter a home or building. If traces of the smoke or its odor enters the building, it is an indication that gases and odors from the sewer may also enter. The smoke is manufactured specifically for these purposes and leaves no residuals or stains and is not harmful to humans, plants or animals. It is manufactured by HURCO technologies (1-800-888-1436).

If smoke enters your home, it may be an indication of common problems including: Vents connected to your sewer pipe are inadequate, defective or improperly installed; Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers, and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing; or Pipe connections, and seals of the wastewater drain system in and under your building are damaged, defective, have plugs missing, or are improperly installed.

The correction of any defects in pipes and sewer on private property is the responsibility of the owner. The services of a professional plumber are advised.

During the inspection project, signs will be placed in neighborhoods where smoke testing is occuring. Customers may also call 223-4010, for additional information.

PWC will notify local fire departments as testing is conducted in the area. When testing involves your neighborhood, residents can help by informing your family, neighbors or employees about the testing and potential smoke. Be aware that if smoke enters, it may cause smoke alarms to sound.