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Water and Wastewater



Smoke and Dye Testing of Sanitary Sewers

The Region of Peel has begun conducting sanitary sewer smoke testing to assist staff in identifying areas that need improvement within the sewer system.

What is Smoke Testing?

Smoke testing is a safe, quick way to find areas of the sewer system that need updating. The smoke used in the test has no odour, isn’t harmful to your health, and will disappear in a few minutes.

The test consists of blowing a harmless coloured vapour into the sanitary manholes and observing the points where the smoke exits. The smoke is expected to exit from manholes, the sewer stack at the top of your house, catch basins and downspouts.

The smoke should not enter your home if it is properly plumbed and if your sink and drain traps contain water.

What is Dye Testing?

Dye testing involves adding a non-toxic dye to stormwater drains located on private property. The dye mixes with fluid carried by the drains, giving it a visible colour that can easily be traced. The flow of the fluid through the sewer system is then monitored by inspecting sanitary manholes located downstream of the testing start point.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of smoke testing?

The purpose of the testing is to find potential points of inflow and infiltration in the sanitary sewer system. Smoke testing can help locate improper connections to the systems and areas where unwanted water is entering the system. If a problem is found, the Region of Peel will formulate necessary improvements to fix it.

What are the benefits of smoke testing?

Smoke testing is a simple and fast method of testing the sewer system. The vapour is harmless and will disappear after only a few minutes. The testing is also a cost effective way to find areas of the sewer system that need improvement.

Is the smoke harmful?

No. If the smoke enters your home, it may make you cough, but it is not harmful to your health and will not harm clothing, drapes or furniture.

What should I do to prepare for the smoke testing?

When you receive a notice that smoke testing will take place, you should check to see that all traps under basins, washing facilities and floor drains have water in them.

What does it mean if smoke enters my house?

If smoke enters your home during the test, it probably means there are deficiencies in the plumbing that may allow sewer gas to enter.

What should I do if smoke gets into the house?

If smoke does enter your home, note the location of the smoke and contact 905-791-7800, ext. 4409. Regional staff will discuss with you what should be done to correct the problem.

If smoke gets into the house, how long does it take the smoke to dissipate?

Open windows for ventilation. The smoke will dissipate in a few minutes.

I will not be at home during the testing and have pets. Should I be concerned?

The smoke is not harmful to pets. It would be a good idea to leave several upstairs windows partially open for ventilation, should any smoke enter the building. If you have proper connections and all of the traps have water in them, there should not be any problems.

Contact Information

For more information or to report the presence of smoke within your house during testing, please call the Region of Peel at ext. 4409.

Revised: Wednesday November 23 2016


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