Smoke Testing FAQs

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 The Department of Public Works will be smoke testing on and around Birchwood Drive November 19 & 20, 2019. Door hanger notification will also  be provided at least 5 days prior  to  testing. 

What is the benefit to my community?

Smoke testing is one technique used to identify areas where unnecessary groundwater or rainfall is entering the sewer system which can cause backups, overflows, and higher costs for treatment.  

What is smoke testing?

Using odorless, non-toxic liquid smoke and high capacity blowers, smoke is forced through the sewer pipes from blowers placed on top of manholes.  Anywhere the smoke exits, there is potential for rain or ground water to seep into the sewer system.

How will I know when smoke testing will be performed in my neighborhood?

At least 24 hours before smoke testing is scheduled to start, Town of Nashville Public Works Employees will place door hangers on the front door of every building where testing will be conducted. Smoke testing schedules and sites are posted on the news page of our website.

How are Town of Nashville crews recognizable?

Town of Nashville staff will wear apparel that is clearly marked with Town logos. Town signage will also be visible on all vehicles.

Is the smoke hazardous?

Not at all. The smoke that comes out of the vent stacks on houses or holes in the ground is non-toxic, harmless, and has no odor. It does not create a fire hazard.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for smoke testing?

Drain traps should always be filled with water to prevent sewer gases from entering the building.  About 3 cups of water should be poured in floor and sink drains, filling the traps to prevent smoke from entering the home. If smoke does enter, the resident should consult a licensed plumber.  If harmless smoke can enter through faulty plumbing, the potential exists for dangerous sewer gases to also enter the home. Should smoke enter your building or structure, contact a member of the smoke testing crew working in the area.

What if smoke shows in my yard or driveway?

This could mean that there is a drain on the property that is connected to the sewer lateral or that the lateral has breaks or cracks in the pipe that cause drain runoff after it has percolated into the soil.

Do I need to be home when smoke testing is performed?

Homeowners do not need to be home and at no time will field crews need to enter residences or buildings.  Smoke testing crews will be noticeable documenting the testing, taking photos, and measuring distances.

What if a test yields no smoke defects?

Obviously, if the sanitary sewer line and the lateral are in good condition, and there are no drainage facilities connected to them, the smoke has no place to go other than up the house vent stack, as it is supposed to. 

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