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Posted on: August 2, 2018

Upcoming Sewer System Smoke Testing Along Warren Avenue


The City of Portland Department of Public Works in conjunction with ARCADIS has contracted Flow Assessment Services to conduct Sewer System Smoke Testing for the purpose of locating sources of storm water inflow to the sanitary system. The study will locate direct and indirect connections such as catch basins, area drains, roof drains, broken sewer pipe and deteriorated pipe joints.  During this test, white smoke is introduced through the sanitary sewer system via a smoke-generating machine.  During this procedure, white smoke will be venting from holes in manhole covers located on the street and plumbing vent pipes located on or near your roof surface.

During the week of August 6, Flow Assessment Services will be conducting a sewer investigation in and along Warren Avenue between Forest Avenue and the Maine Turnpike. On the 6th and 7th, FAS will be canvassing the impacted areas with an informational sewer work notice, and then they will begin blowing smoke into the sewer on the 8th, 9th, and 10th. The work is anticipated to be between 8 AM and 5 PM, with a request to FAS to not begin any work on Warren Ave until after 9. Limited traffic interruption should occur and two way traffic will remain.

Because it is anticipated that smoke will escape from the ground or roof tops, a Fire Dept detail will be on hand to address any public safety concerns during the three days that smoke will be used. Variable message boards will be on site to let the traveling public know of the smoke testing. 

Smoke should not enter your premises unless there is a dry trap in your basement floor drain or any unused plumbing fixtures.  You may wish to pour some water down your basement drain or unused plumbing fixture to insure that the drain trap will be effective. Smoke could also enter the building through defective plumbing. The owner should note this because gases from the sewer system may possibly enter your building through the defective plumbing.

Should smoke be detected within the building, DO NOT BE ALARMED.  The smoke is NON-TOXIC AND NON-STAINING.  Simply ventilate the home and report the presence of smoke to the people conducting the test outside in the vicinity of your building.  If possible, they will assist you in locating the source that allowed the smoke to enter the building.


  • You are not required to be home when the testing is being performed on your street.

  • The testing will be performed 24 to 72 hours after notification is received.

  • Use of DRONE may occur to video inspect flat roofs on commercial properties.

  • Weather, holidays and weekends may shift test periods beyond the 24 to 72 hour time frame.

  • Please call Flow Assessment Services @ 1-888-311-9799 or the City of Portland @ 207-874- 8818 should you have any questions or concerns.


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