Sewer System Smoke Testing

Sanitary Sewer System Smoke Testing

The City of Salmon Arm Inflow and Infiltration Program periodically performs smoke tests on the sanitary sewer system to find potential points of inflow and infiltration that could lead to high flows during periods of rainfall or snow melt events. During the smoke testing, field crews blow air and smoke into the sanitary sewer system and monitor where smoke escapes. If smoke permeates up through the ground, it indicates a break in the sewer line.


Prior to the test, the City of Salmon Arm's Utility Division will notify the local fire department where they will be conducting sewer system smoke testing and all residences will receive a notification brochure 48 hours prior to testing.

When you receive notice that smoke testing will take place, you should check to see that all drain traps under basins, washing facilities and floor drains have water in them. To do so, simply flush toilets and run water into all drains for at least 10 seconds.


The smoke is harmless and dissipates quickly; however, it can activate smoke alarms. Individuals with respiratory conditions may contact the City of Salmon Arm at 250.803.4080 for more information from the Material Safety Data Sheets and specific testing times.

If smoke enters your home or business during testing, you should try to monitor where it is coming from and open your windows. You should then call a plumber; there is a strong possibility that there is a deficiency in your plumbing and that harmful sewer gases may be entering your building. If you are unsure whether the smoke is from our testing, you should call 911.