Smoke Testing

About Smoke Testing

The City of Blaine Public Works Department conducts leak tests of the sanitary sewer system by forcing smoke into the lines. The smoke will help us locate places where storm and other surface waters are entering the city's sewers and reveal sources of sewer odors. This leak testing is part of our continuing effort to provide a safe, economical, efficient, and environmentally sound sewer system in Blaine.

If you have any questions, or desire more information, please call 360-332-8820 during regular office hours.

Smoke Test Process

While most residents will never see or smell the smoke, the city wants you to have as much information as possible about the testing. A special non-toxic smoke will be used in these leak tests. The smoke is manufactured for this purpose and, therefore, leaves no residuals or stains and has no effect on plants and animals. The smoke has a distinctive, but non-toxic odor.

If You Experience Direct Contact With Smoke

In the unlikely event that you should have direct contact with the smoke, you should seek adequate ventilation because the smoke could be a slight irritant. However, if people in your building have asthma, emphysema, or some other respiratory condition, please notify the city immediately so that we can discuss your case in further detail.

If Smoke Enters Your Building

If traces of the smoke or its odor enter your house or building, it is an indication that gases and odors from the sewer also may enter. Evidence of smoke in your house during the smoke testing should be immediately reported to the Public Works Department testing crew and to your plumber.

Location, identification, and correction of the source of smoke entering your house is strongly recommended. Keep in mind that smoke coming from your roof vents is normal. The city's sewer system is vented through those vents. While the Public Works Department will render all possible assistance, the correction of any defects in the pipes and sewer on private property is the responsibility of the owner.

Reasons for Smoke Entering Your Building

Leak testing smoke may enter your house if:

  • Vents connected to you building's sewer pipe are inadequate, defective, or improperly installed
  • Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, shower, and other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing
  • Pipe, connections and seals of the waste water drain system in and under your building are damaged, defective, have plugs missing, or are improperly installed.

We advise residents to run water for 1 minute into drains that are used infrequently at your residence to reduce the likelihood of smoke entering the house inadvertently through dry p-traps.