News Flash


Posted on: October 17, 2023

Sewer Smoke Testing Scheduled for October, November, December


The City of Marion has contracted with Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. to conduct leak tests and inspections in the sanitary sewer system in your neighborhood during the months of October, November, and December 2023.   The leak tests will be conducted by Duke’s Root Control, a company subcontracted by Kimley-Horn. 

Leak testing is part of the City of Marion’s on-going effort to maintain a safe, efficient, economical, and environmentally sound sewer system throughout our sewer service area.  While most customers will never see the tests in progress, we want you to have as much information as possible about the testing.  Actual testing in your neighborhood may only last a few minutes. 

The tests are conducted by blowing a non-toxic smoke, manufactured specifically for sewer leak testing, through the City owned sewer lines.  By doing so, sources of sewer odors, leaks, inflow, and infiltration are revealed as a cloud or stream of white smoke.  Should you witness a cloud or stream of white smoke rising from the ground or from a storm drain, do not be alarmed.  This is a normal occurrence during sewer testing.  

Because the plumbing appliances in your house or building are connected to the City’s sanitary sewer system, some of the smoke from the testing may enter your house or building if:

  • Vents connected to your building’s sewer pipes are inadequate, defective, or improperly installed. 
  • Traps under sinks, tubs, basins, showers, and/or other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed, or missing.
  • Pipes, connections, and/or seals of the wastewater drain system in and/or under your building are damaged, defective, have plugs missing, or are improperly installed.

The smoke from the tests cannot enter your building unless a defect, such as one of those listed above, is present in the plumbing system of your building.

The smoke is manufactured for the specific purpose of testing sewers and will not leave any residues or stains.  It has no effect on plants or animals.  Though the smoke is completely safe, its presence in your building indicates that gases and odors from the sewer may also enter your building due to a plumbing defect in your building.  The gases and odors can be both unpleasant and dangerous to the occupants of the building.   For this reason, the City highly advises that if you see traces of white smoke in your building during the test, you should correct the plumbing deficiencies in your building as soon as possible.  While the City will render all possible cooperation and assistance, the correction of any defects in pipes and sewers on private property is the responsibility of the property owner.  

If you have any questions or desire more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 828-652-4224 or Chip Smith (Kimley-Horn) at 980-217-3427 or Justin Lemonds (Duke’s) at 910-690-3114.

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