The City is performing sanitary sewer smoke tests starting November 11

Guelph residents may see smoke coming from maintenance holes

Update November 12, 2019: Smoke testing has been delayed due to weather and will begin on Monday, November 18.

The City will begin sanitary sewer smoke testing starting November 11 and is expected to take four weeks to complete. Smoke testing will take place between the hours of 8 – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

The smoke tests will be done to identify if any rainwater is entering our sanitary sewers through cracks or holes. This will allow the City to know where repairs are needed in our sanity sewer system.

The smoke used is a harmless coloured vapour that has no odour, isn’t harmful to your health, and will disappear after a few minutes.

Residents and businesses in the areas where smoke testing will take place will be notified directly through a letter in advance with instructions and details on what to expect.

What to expect

  • Residents in the smoke testing area may see smoke coming out of street maintenance holes, the sewer plumbing stack at the top of houses, or exiting stormwater catch basins and roof downspouts at the side of houses. Guelph Fire Services has been notified. If you smell or see smoke and are unsure of its source, please contact 911.
  • Residents in affected areas are asked to ensure all plumbing traps under sinks, washing machines and floor drains have water in them. When you receive notice from the City, please pour water down basement floor drains, all sinks, showers and other plumbing fixtures to help reduce instances of smoke entering your house.
  • If smoke enters your home, pour some water down the drain and open your windows for ventilation. Smoke will quickly disappear in a few minutes and isn’t harmful to your health. If you do experience irritation, please leave the area until the smoke has disappeared. If you have any health concerns, please contact your healthcare provider.

Road closures and pedestrian sidewalks

During the duration of the smoke test, there may be temporary, partial closures of arterial and collector roads and pedestrian sidewalks in the smoke test area.

What is sanitary smoke testing and why are we doing it?

The smoke test consists of blowing a harmless coloured vapour into sewer maintenance holes and sanitary sewer pipes and observing where the smoke exits. This is called an Inflow and Infiltration Reduction study, which helps us see where water is entering our sewer system through cracks and holes, or damaged connection like catch basins or roof downspouts.

We do this because water entering our sanitary sewer system can cause damage and reduce our sewer pipes capacity to get our sewage to the treatment plant. This also increases the risk of overloading the pipe, which can lead to other issues like basement flooding.

For more information

Arun Hindupur
Supervisor Infrastructure Engineering, Engineering and Transportation Services
519-822-1260 extension 2282
[email protected]

Niall Quinlan
Manager, Inflow and Infiltration Services, Infrastructure Intelligence Service Inc.
647-229-9175 extension
[email protected],