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Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Program

The Village of Woodridge is continuing to conduct smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system to identify locations where storm water is entering the sanitary sewer system.  The study, a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study (SSES) being performed by the engineering firm RJN Group, Inc. of Wheaton, Illinois, also includes flow monitoring and inspections of the manholes and sewer mains.  The SSES is being conducted in Sanitary Basin B and targets the trunk line running along Crabtree Creek along with those mains that feed into the trunk line.  

Smoke testing is a simple means of locating openings in the sewer system that allow surface rainwater runoff to enter the sanitary sewers.  Air combined with non-toxic smoke is forced into the sewer lines to disclose the location of connections and leaks. Smoke may appear where there are defects in the main sewer line or laterals (connection between the main line and a building) or where there are other connections to the sewer system such as roof drains, patio drains, and footing drains.  Click here to view the map of the Smoke Testing Program Boundaries.

Smoke should not enter buildings unless there is defective plumbing or dried-up drain traps. To help prevent smoke from entering your home, please pour water into infrequently used sinks, showers and floor drains.  You should always feel free to call 911 in an emergency.  However, if you believe smoke is entering your home from smoke testing, please contact a member of the RJN field crew by calling RJN Group’s office at 630-682-4700.

The smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly, and is harmless. However, if someone in your home has respiratory problems, you may wish to take extra precautions on your own, such as leaving your home until the smoke testing is completed.  (Attached is a copy of the smoke product safety data sheet (MSDS).) 

The smoke testing will begin, weather permitting, on Monday, August 24th, 2015 and is anticipated to be completed by mid-September (wet ground from rain will delay the project).  A letter with this same information was mailed to the study area on August 15th, 2015.  Additional advance notification will be provided by door hanger cards 24 - 72 hours before the smoke testing is to start in your area and s­­­igns will be posted at highly visible intersections when the crews are testing.

Update: Scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 24th, 2015

Attached is a short video produced by/for the Charleston Water and Sewer System that explains in detail the process and reasons to conduct smoke testing.  This is the same program being conducted in Woodridge.   VIDEO - SANITARY SEWER SMOKE TESTING OVERVIEW

Additional information on smoke testing can be found on the RJN company website: as well as on the Village’s website: If you have questions please call Joe Sullivan from RJN at (630) 682-4700 x377 or Jeff Moline from the Village of Woodridge Public Works at (630) 719-4753.