Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing

Smoke testing is a way to locate openings in the sewer system that allow rainwater runoff to enter and can cause inconvenient and expensive sanitary sewer backups. Air combined with non-toxic smoke is forced into the sewer lines to disclose the location of leaks and connections to storm water systems. Smoke can be seen coming up out of the ground where there are defects in the lines. Smoke testing also identifies roof drains, patio drains and footing drains that are connected to the sewer system.

2017 Smoke Testing 

The City of Naperville has contracted with RJN Group, Inc. of Wheaton, Illinois and Burns & McDonnell of Downers Grove, Illinois to perform smoke testing beginning in mid-June and is expected to be completed by late August. If you live in an area that will be impacted by smoke testing, you can expect to receive a notification letter in the mail a few weeks prior to testing.  Additional 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. 

Two areas of the City will be smoke tested this summer. Area 1 includes the downtown and surrounding subdivisions. Area 2 includes the northwest portion of the City. Work in the Downtown (Area 1) is scheduled to begin Monday, June 12 and last approximately 4 weeks.  Work in the northwest portion of the City (Area 2) is scheduled to begin Monday, July 17 and last approximately 4 – 5 weeks.

View a map of the Smoke Test Area 1 

View a map of Smoke Test Area 2

What Residents and the Public Can Expect

Smoke will not enter buildings unless there is defective plumbing or drain traps that are dried up. It is expected – and normal – for smoke to come out of the sewer vent stack on the roof of a home during the test.

The smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly and is harmless, although those with respiratory issues may wish to take extra precautions such as leaving the home for a few hours until testing is complete. Door hanger notification cards are being distributed to those impacted immediately prior to testing, and the public can expect to see signs posted at intersections when crews are testing in that area.

Timeline and Location

Testing in Area 1 (downtown and surrounding areas) began Monday, June 12 and is expected to last approximately 4 weeks. 

Note: Due to inclement weather the project is approximately 2 weeks behind schedule and will last through the end of July.

Smoke Test Area 1 Schedule

Testing in Area 2 (northwest portion of City) is scheduled to begin Monday, July 17.

Smoke Test Area 2 Schedule

What To Do if You See Smoke

You should always feel free to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. If you believe smoke is entering your home from the smoke testing, simply open a window and the smoke will dissipate quickly. Also notify the crew that is conducting the  tests by contacting a member of the crew on the street. 

The smoke is non-toxic, creates no fire hazard, leaves no residue, dissipates quickly and is harmless; however, those with respiratory issues may wish to take extra precautions such as leaving the home for a few hours until testing is complete. 

Additional Information

Read our Smoke Testing Q&A for answers to frequently asked questions about smoke testing studies. 

Learn more about our contractors

RJN Group website

RJN Group Smoke Testing Video

Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell Smoke Testing Video 

Department of Public Utilities-Water