Homeowners and local governments check for problems with sanitary sewer lines with a smoke pump tester. These smoke tests show where groundwater is entering the wastewater pipes and overloading the system. The tests also reveal where sewage fluids and gases escape, contaminating the environment and risking disease outbreaks. Because these tests do not occur frequently, the agency or contractor in charge of the tests should prepare in advance of the test date.
Alert Residents Nearby
The artificial smoke used in testing will not stain houses, leave odors, or harm humans. It has a non-toxic profile approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the vapor may irritate those with respiratory problems and alarm animals. Residents with health problems will want to open windows or sit outside. Pet owners should place animals in rooms where they cannot view the smoke. Manufacturers of smoke test equipment often provide notification hangers.
Residents should be advised to dump water down household drains a few hours before the test begins. Normally, water present in house pipes prevents sewer gases from entering the home. However, water may have evaporated from drains that are not used regularly. This precaution in advance of the test will help keep smoke from entering the home.
Inform Police and Fire Departments
Area residents and passers-by may not realize that a smoke test is in progress and call the fire department to report a fire when they see smoke rising from a lawn. Informing the fire and police departments in advance will help to prevent false alarms. Agencies should have contact information for the organization doing the test so that false alarms may be confirmed and real emergencies addressed. Workers on site at the smoke test area should also post signs informing passers-by that a test is in progress.
Smoke testing is a safe and common procedure. A few simple precautions will help ensure that test day goes smoothly.