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Nov 30, 2018


Posted on: November 19, 2018

Oconee County to Conduct Smoke Testing of Sanitary Sewer System


Safe, cost-effective process identifies areas for maintenance


Oconee County Water Resources and personnel from contractor Woolpert, Inc., will be conducting smoke testing on the county’s sanitary sewer system from December 3 through December 21, 2018. Manhole inspections and closed-circuit televising and surveying of the lines will also be conducted.

Smoke testing will concentrate on addresses in the city of Watkinsville and areas in the Epps Bridge Commercial District. Approximately 29,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer line and 160 manholes will be inspected.

Smoke testing is a safe and cost-effective way to detect defects in the sewer line where storm and other surface waters may be entering the system.

During smoke testing, blowers are used to send an artificially-produced, non-toxic, non-staining smoke through a blocked-off segment of the sanitary sewer line. If the line is in good condition, the forced smoke will emerge from manhole lids along the line and house vents on the roof. If the line has defects, smoke will escape through any breaks.

The smoke that will be used during the testing is commonly used in the industry, leaves no residue, poses no fire hazard, and is safe for people, pets, and plants. However, if there are individuals in the smoke testing area who have respiratory problems and are immobile, please notify Oconee County Water Resources at 706-769-3960 prior to testing.

Under normal circumstances, smoke will not enter a residence; however, it is possible that smoke may enter through a dried-out drain trap or a plumbing defect. To prevent smoke entering the home through unused drain traps, please fill all drain traps with a minimum of one quart of water prior to testing. If smoke does enter a home, it should be reported to the crews conducting the test. Repairs to internal plumbing are at the homeowner’s discretion. Please note that if smoke can enter your home, dangerous sewer gases can, as well.

All residences in the testing area will be notified with a door hanger explaining the process. Updates on areas that are being tested will be available on the Oconee County website at

Both contractors and county personnel will be in uniform or wearing photo ID’s and driving vehicles with the county or company name.

For questions about smoke testing, or more information, please visit Oconee County Water Resources online at or call 706-769-3960.



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