Phase Three of City's Smoke Testing Program Begins, August 11

On Tuesday, August 11, the City of Valdosta's will begin phase three of its Smoke Testing Program. The work, which will take approximately eight weeks to complete, will take place on weekdays from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting.

The City of Valdosta's sewer collection system is made up of over 300 miles of sewer lines, of which 120 miles have been inspected since January 2014. The smoke testing of the underground pipes helps the city identify defects for repairs. This work has significantly reduced inflow and/or infiltration of ground and surface water into the sewer system, resulting in a decrease in sewer spills. Phase Three will smoke test 60 more miles of lines, with the remaining 120 miles to be completed in the final phase next year.

Informational door hangers will be distributed to notify residents and businesses in the area about what to expect (click here to view a door hanger or Frequently Asked Questions flier).The white or gray-colored smoke used during this test is non-toxic, non-staining, odorless, and creates no fire hazard or any harm to the environment.

During the testing, it is normal to see smoke exiting building roof vents. While it is very unlikely for smoke to enter a building, it is recommended that residents and businesses in the test area pour at least 16 ounces of water down all drains to ensure that plumbing drain traps are holding water. The water in drain traps will prevent the smoke from entering the inside of homes and businesses.

Smoke that does enter a home or business during the test indicates that there may be faulty or defective internal plumbing, which should be repaired as soon as possible. It is very important to make these repairs, since smoke entering any structure during the smoke test is also an indication that sewer gases are likely entering as well from that same location. Should smoke enter any building during the test, citizens are advised to open windows and doors to allow the smoke to clear for approximately 15 minutes.

Because of the smoke generated during testing, the contractor will communicate specific testing locations with the Valdosta Fire Department should they receive any calls. Also, special arrangements will be made for persons with respiratory or other serious medical conditions.

The contractors performing this work will be wearing identification tags that will be clearly visible to others. Inclement weather could postpone the testing, as smoke testing cannot be accomplished during or immediately after heavy rain. In that event, businesses and residents should expect the process to take a few days longer.

For more information about the Smoke Testing Program, contact the Utilities Department at (229) 259-3592, click here to view maps and other information, or visit