News Flash


Posted on: July 17, 2020

Smoke Testing

Smoke Testing


Please be advised that the City of Murphy will be smoke testing the sanitary sewer lines in your area. 

Monday, August 3, 2020 – Monday, August 31, 2020                      
Hours 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 


− You do not need to be home during the smoke testing. 

− Smoke should not enter your home or building (unless there is a leak or seldom used drains). 

− The liquid smoke used is non-toxic, odorless, non-staining and is not a fire hazard.  

About Smoke Testing

Sewer system smoke testing throughout the City of Murphy is to help locate defects and improve sanitary sewer services. Smoke testing is done by introducing non-toxic smoke along with large volumes of air through an open sanitary sewer manhole Smoke testing only takes a few hours and forces smoke filled air into the sanitary sewer system. The smoke is non-toxic, odorless and fills the sewer line only to escape to the surface, if there are any defects in the sanitary sewer system that need repair. Smoke testing is a simple means of locating defects in sewer mains and service laterals that allow rainfall runoff or ground water to enter the sanitary sewer collection system. Smoke may appear around nearby manhole lids and from the ground above defects in sewer mains and sewer service laterals.  

Smoke should not be observed inside a building unless the building has inadequate plumbing or dried-up drain traps (such as the P-trap under a sink). 

If you have any doubt as to the source of the smoke in your home or yard, phone 911 immediately. 

 If the plumbing system of your residence/business is adequate and all drain traps are full of water, smoke should not be seen indoors. Smoke coming out of plumbing vent roof stacks is completely normal and is not a cause for alarm.  

Smoke testing is a process endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been safely used for more than 20 years to evaluate sanitary sewer collections systems. The "smoke" is not true smoke but rather a specially-formulated mist that is made up mostly of moisture from the atmosphere. The mist is non-toxic, has no ill effects on humans, animals and plants, does not create a fire hazard, and leaves no residual odors, dust or stains.  

The City of Murphy strongly advises that any source of smoke within a building be located, identified, and corrected by a licensed plumber in accordance with local codes. The correction of any defects in building plumbing systems or in sewer pipes that are on private property is entirely the responsibility of the property owner. If a deficiency is discovered on private property that allows storm water or debris to enter the sanitary sewer collection system, the location of the deficiency will be indicated with white flags, white marking paint, or a combination of the two. If you have any questions about the test, health issues, or any other concerns, feel free to ask a crew member, or contact the Public Works Department at (972-468-4378). 

All public safety authorities (Police and Fire) 
have been notified of this event. 

Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of smoke testing? 

Smoke testing is the most efficient and cost effective way to locate and identify where unauthorized water is entering the public portion of the sewer system, and find areas of the sewer system that need improvement. Smoke testing is becoming a requirement nationwide for locating unauthorized water problems that are threatening the ability to properly treat wastewater. 

How long will it take? 

While crews might be in your area for a few hours, each actual smoke test setup takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Most houses will only be within the testing area for one or two tests. 

What should I do if smoke gets into the house? 

Do Not Become Alarmed. Open windows to allow ventilation and note the location of the smoke emission. Smoke will clear within a few minutes. Exit the building and notify smoke testing personnel in the area. 

What should I do if I have emphysema or respiratory problems? Is the smoke harmful? Although the smoke is considered to have no adverse health effects, individuals with respiratory conditions should take special precautions. Smoke rarely enters a home, If this occurs, open the windows and shut your bathroom doors. (20 Minutes) 

Can the smoke testing activate the smoke alarms? Yes, smoke alarms may activate during smoke testing. If possible, open windows and/or doors for ventilation.  



Do not panic. Open a window or turn on a fan in the room where the smoke is present and leave the area for 10 to 15 minutes or until smoke has cleared. The smoke should disappear within a few minutes and leave no residue.  

If you have any doubts about the origin of the smoke, please call 911. 

All public safety authorities (Police and Fire) have been notified of this event. 

For all Questions, Please contact Bryce Gullatt @ 972.468.4378 

or Wade Williams @ 972-468-4376 

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