Proactive Smoke Testing - Willie Mays, Lake Richmond and Other Areas

A photo of a smoke testing device on greeen grass pumping smoke into a sanitary sewer manhole.

The City’s Water Reclamation Division proactively and periodically smoke test sanitary sewer systems to identify deficiencies and cross connections. It also presents an opportunity to locate any unauthorized connections.

Smoke testing will occur at the Willie Mays and Lake Richmond Neighborhood. Constituents will notice crews, vehicles and equipment working within the public right-of-way. It is not uncommon to notice crews and vehicles leave and return frequently.

We expect to complete smoke testing in the month of February. Please be advised, adverse weather and unforeseen circumstances can create delays prolonging the project.

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Sanitary Sewer smoke testing is typically non-intrusive. Constituents do not need to be home once testing occurs. The smoke used is non-toxic and odorless. During testing, smoke should not enter a resident’s home or place or place of business. However, should this occur, this means the constituents may have a potential plumbing issues on their property. The city recommends the constituent contact a plumber of his or her choice at their convenience.

Q: Who should I contact for questions before, during, or after smoke testing?

Please contact the city’s Water Reclamation Division, their number is 407.246.2213. Feel free to speak with city staff who will be in the area during smoke testing and are willing and able to assist you with questions you may have.

Q: Should residents prepare homes and businesses for this?

Before testing, the city recommends running water for a few seconds at each plumbing fixture (toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, etc.).

Q: Does someone need to be home for this?

No. No one needs to be home during smoke testing.

Q: Is smoke testing safe for people, pets, and plants?

Yes. The process is safe. The smoke used is non-toxic, non-staining, and odorless. A person, animal, or plant that comes in contact with testing material will not be in danger.

Q: What can I expect or what will I see if smoke happens to enter my home or place of business?

Should smoke enter your home or business, it will come from a plumbing fixture (toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, etc.). The smoke takes about five to ten minutes to dissipate. During testing, smoke should not enter a home. However, if it does, this means the homeowner may have a potential plumbing problem on their property. The city recommends the homeowner calls a plumber at their convenience. Repairs made by the city will only occur in the public right-of-way.

Q: Has the City ever done testing like this before?

Yes. The City’s Public Works Department conducts an in-house test like this on a smaller scale.

Q: Why is the City using this method?

Smoke testing is cost-effective and efficient when trying to identify potential concerns in our sewer systems. If we were to use an alternate method like TV inspection, it could take months, maybe even years to complete such a task. In addition to an increase in duration, the city would also incur an increase in cost.

Q: What are the industry standards for smoke testing?

Smoke testing is used extensively by utilities throughout the US to pinpoint problem areas. It is a quick and easy way to find potential areas of concern. Other cities in Florida also use smoke testing.