Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing for Lift Station Three Basin

Last updated on September 07, 2020


In an effort to provide efficient wastewater collection and treatment within the City of Orlando, the City periodically conducts smoke testing to identify broken lines or illegal connections. USSI under the supervision of the City's Water Reclamation personnel will check for damaged pipes or unauthorized connections. We expect to complete this project in two months.

The areas marked in blue are locations where smoke testing can potentially occur. It is not unusually to see crews, vehicles, and equipment leave and return again. Please use caution should you see USSI or City crews in the public right-of-way.

Once testing starts, USSI will force a non-toxic, non-staining and odorless smoke through our sewer systems. Any smoke that escapes will help USSI identify cracks, collapsed lines, and other potential issues. Constituents will notice crews and equipment in the public right-of-way and at times in the roadway.

During testing, smoke should not enter a residence or place of business. However, if it does, this means the homeowner may have a plumbing issue on private property. USSI recommends the homeowner call a plumber as soon as possible.The smoke takes about five to ten minutes to dissipate.

Project hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. There may be opportunities for smoke testing on weekends. Know, adverse weather and unforeseen circumstances can create delays or prolong smoke testing. 

College Park • Lake Formosa •  Rowena Gardens • Audubon Park • Park Lake – Highland • ColonialTown North

*Please know testing will not occur in any particular order.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

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

Please contact the City’s Water Reclamation Department, their number is 407.246.2213. You may also contact USSI directly by phone, their number is 1.888.645.9570. You may also 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, USSI 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. This process is safe. The smoke used is non-toxic, non-staining, and odorless. Any person, animal, or plant that comes in contact with the smoke 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 plumbing issue on their private property. USSI recommends the homeowner call a plumber as soon as possible. Any repairs made will only be made 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. For this round of testing, we are utilizing USSI to cover a larger area to proactively locate potential concerns within the City’s sewer systems.

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 testing duration, the city would also incur an increase in cost.

Q: What are the industry standards for smoke testing?

Smoke testing is slightly controversial because of concerns of accuracy. However, it is a quick and easy way to find potential areas of concern. Many cities in Florida also use smoke testing. (Miami, Tampa, and Cape Coral)