The City of Aiken, through its engineering consultant firm, Arcadis, will be conducting smoke testing of the sanitary sewer. This procedure helps identify sources of leakage into the sanitary sewer system.

During smoke testing, non-toxic, non-staining, artificially generated white smoke will be blown into the sanitary sewer system. This smoke creates no fire hazard and has no effects on plant or animal life. The smoke has a distinctive but not unpleasant odor. The locations of any defective pipes in the system will be found by smoke escaping through the ground.

During testing, the smoke will be released through the vent stack on the roof of buildings. If the sanitary system and building’s plumbing are in proper working order, it is unlikely that smoke will enter the building. Once testing is completed, the smoke will dissipate in a few minutes and any defects will be noted for corrective action in the future.

Basin Estimated Blows Notification Date Smoke Test Date(s)
F 18 Monday, 8/17/20 Wednesday, 8/19/20
G 17 Monday, 8/17/20 Thursday, 8/20/20
H 31 Tuesday, 8/18/20 Friday, 8/21/20 & Monday, 8/24/20
L 2 Friday, 8/21/20 Tuesday, 8/25/20
M 1 Friday, 8/21/20 Tuesday, 8/25/20
N 10 Friday, 8/21/20 Tuesday, 8/25/20


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the smoke testing of Sanitary Sewer Lines?
A: This is the action of smoke being blown into the sewer system that connects throughout Aiken to find sources of leakage in those lines. The smoke will rise out of problem areas underneath the ground in the sewer system.
Q: Who will be performing this test?
A: The City of Aiken has a contractor, Arcadis, who have been working on our sewer systems and will be performing these test. Field Crews will have proper identification such as IDs and business cards with Arcadis identified shirts on.
Q: How will we know when the test is going to start in our area?
A: Arcadis field teams will notify by door hanger or direct contact when a test is to be performed within 1-3 hrs.
Q: What if I see smoke escaping through vent stacks
A: This is normal and no cause for alarm
Q: Is the testing toxic?
A: No, it is safe. This is routinely done by contractors working with sewer lines around the United States. This test will cause no harm to the environment.
Q: Will smoke come into my house?
A: If your plumbing has no issues and is not being worked on, it is unlikely. It is suggested to run about 1 gallon of water through sinks and drains to fill the traps to block the smoke from coming through into the home. This should be done 1 hour prior to the notice you will receive.
Q: How long with the smoke linger?
A: The smoke will dissipate in a few minutes
Q: What if my sewer system is not functioning properly or undergoing repairs?
A: Call Wesley Wahls of Arcadis at 302.442.0495 to discuss the issues.
Q: What if I or someone in my home have respiratory issues? Will this affect me?
A: If you have respiratory issues, you may want to vacate the premises before testing to avoid irritation. If you or someone in the home require immediate notification before testing, please call Wesley Wahls of Arcadis at 302.442.0495

For general questions regarding the Smoke Testing, citizens can also call the City of Aiken Engineering and Utilities Department at 803.642.7610 Monday- Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM.