What Is Smoke Testing?

Smoke Testing

Why do we smoke test our sewer lines?

  • Smoke testing is an important tool used to identify areas in HCWA sewer lines that need repairs or rehabilitation.
  • During this process, a section of the sewer line is plugged off and a blower then pumps the “smoke” into a manhole.  Crews then look for smoke escaping out of the ground, buildings, manholes, and sewer clean-outs.  The crew will flag areas that need further attention and repair.
  • If the sewer line is in good condition, the only places smoke should exit are sewer vent pipes.  Repairs to internal home plumbing are at the homeowner’s discretion.

Is the smoke harmful to people, pets or plants?

  • No. The “smoke” is actually a mist that is fruit-scented.  This smoke compound is manufactured specifically for this application and is non-toxic and non-staining. It creates no fire hazard.

What should I expect during the smoke test?

  • If your plumbing is in good condition you should not have smoke enter your house.  HCWA recommends that you run water in all your traps for 30 seconds.  Sometimes traps on faucets that haven’t been used in a while will allow smoke to enter. This smoke should clear within a few minutes. To dissipate any smoke that may enter your home, open your doors and windows and notify the crews, or call 678-583-4500.

Does HCWA notify people in area before doing a smoke test?

  • Signs are placed at the entrance of your subdivision or neighborhood at least 24 hours in advance indicating the dates smoke testing will take place.


If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Henry County Water Authority Sewer Line Maintenance Department at 678-583-4501.