The City of Niagara Falls is conducting a Drainage Area Study. Smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system within the study area is a component of the drainage study.
The objective of the smoke testing is to determine if any cross connections (between sanitary and storm sewers) exist and the locations of any such connections. These connections can be a cause of basement flooding during major storms and can also elevate environmental concerns.
Smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system will be performed between May 15th and May 31st, 2018 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. depending on weather by the City’s contractor, Thompson Flow Investigations Inc. (TQI).
The test consists of blowing highly visible non-toxic “smoke” into the sanitary sewer system, then observing and recording any locations where the smoke exits the system. The “smoke”, is non-toxic, odourless and non-staining. It will disappear within a few minutes once the testing is completed. The smoke is expected to exit out of manholes, sewer plumbing vents on house / building roof tops and any cross connections (such as catch basins or downspouts which go into the ground).
If any smoke does enter your home during the testing and you have concern, please report it to the Project Manager with the smoke testing crew on your street or by calling 416-806-8330. If water exists within the sink and drain traps of your home, smoke should not enter the home during testing. Therefore, the City asks you to pour a few cups of water into your basement floor drains, and any unused showers & sinks in your home. Please do this upon receipt of this notice as the water in the trap will remain effective for several months.
Should you have any questions or concerns, or if you or any members of your family have a health condition that you feel we need to be aware of, please contact one of the following:
Thompson Flow Investigation Inc. (TQI)
Guangli Zhang, P. Eng.
Project Manager, Municipal Works
City of Niagara Falls
905-356-7521 ext 6206
SMOKE TESTING OF SEWER SYSTEMS
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of smoke testing?
The purpose of this testing is to find possible points where rainwater is entering the sewer system via cross connections such as catch basins. Smoke testing can help locate improper connections to the systems and locations where unwanted water is entering the systems. If a problem is found, steps can be planned to correct it.
2. What are the benefits of smoke testing?
Smoke testing is a simple and fast method of testing the sewer system. The vapour is harmless and will disappear after only a few minutes. The testing is also a cost-effective way to find areas of the sewer system that need improvement.
3. What should I do to prepare for the smoke testing?
When you receive notice that smoke testing will take place, you should pour a few cups of water into your sinks, and floor drains to ensure all traps have water in them.
4. What does it mean if smoke enters my house?
If smoke enters your home during the test, it probably means there are deficiencies in the plumbing traps (e.g. lack of water) within the house that may also allow sewer gas to enter.
5. What should I do if smoke enters my house?
If smoke does enter your home and causes you concern, note the location of the smoke and contact the Project Manager with the smoke testing crew at 416-806-8330 or contact the City of Niagara Falls at the number listed on the front side of this notice. The Project Manager/City staff will explain what should be done to correct the problem.
6. If smoke gets into the house, what do I do? How long will it take for the smoke to clear?
If any of the harmless smoke gets into your home, simply open a few windows for ventilation. The smoke will disappear in a few minutes.
7. I have pets and will not be at home during the testing. Should I be concerned about their safety?
The smoke is not harmful to people or pets. However, it would be a good idea to leave several upstairs windows partially open for ventilation, should any smoke happen to enter your home during the testing process.