Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing

smokesewerThe Village of Roselle is conducting smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system this summer. Smoke testing is an important tool used in controlling water pollution and will help the Village improve its sanitary sewer system service.

Timeline and Location


Smoke testing of the sewer system is scheduled to be conducted between August 1 and September 1, 2017, weather permitting. Generally, the testing will be done in areas north of I-390, between Roselle Road and Cumberland Trail.
View a map of the 2017 Smoke Test Area

What Is Smoke Testing?


Smoke testing provides a way to locate openings in the Village’s sanitary sewer system that allow rainwater runoff to enter the system. This excess water can cause expensive sanitary sewer backups. Finding and eliminating these points will help improve sanitary sewer service by keeping storm and ground water out of the system. During the testing, pressurized non-toxic smoke is forced into the sewer lines to disclose the location of leaks and bad connections to the sanitary sewer system. Smoke will be seen coming up out of the ground where there are defects in the lines. Identifying the defects allows the Village to make the repairs necessary to keep rainwater out of the sanitary sewer system.

What Can Residents and the Public Expect?


In addition to coming up out of the ground where there are defects in the sewer lines, smoke will also be seen coming from sanitary sewer manholes and vent stacks located on top of homes or other buildings. The smoke should not enter homes unless there are floor drains or bathroom fixture traps that have become dry due to lack of use, or if homes have defective sewer piping that allows sewer gas to directly enter the home. To reduce the risk of having smoke enter your house, pour one-half (1/2) gallon of water down each drain that has not been used in several months. Please do not forget floor drains in your basement.

The smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly, and is harmless. Exposure to the smoke for a short time is not harmful to most people, although those with respiratory issues may wish to take extra precautions such as leaving the home for a few hours until testing is complete. Many residents will not be home while the smoke testing occurs. If you are concerned about the possibility of the smoke from the test entering your home, you may want to consider leaving windows slightly open on the day of the test so the smoke can quickly dissipate.

What To Do If You See Smoke


If there is an emergency or any doubt about where the smoke is coming from, please dial 9-1-1. If you believe smoke is entering your home from the smoke testing, open a window and the smoke will dissipate quickly. Also, please notify the crew that is conducting the tests by calling (815) 444-3288. If you have any concerns relating to the smoke testing work, please contact Interim Public Works Director Victor Ramirez at (630) 980-2020.

More Information and FAQs


This work is being done as part of the requirements of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDCG). The consulting engineering firm of Baxter & Woodman, Inc. has been hired by the Village of Roselle to conduct smoke testing in the designated areas. For questions regarding the specific details of the work, please contact Consultant Project Manager Eric Murauskas at (815) 444-3288.

Answers to frequently asked questions about smoke testing studies are available in the Smoke Testing FAQ (PDF). More information about requirements of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is available on the Baxter & Woodman website.