Smoke In The Water

Charlotte Water is smoking…it’s not what you think though. On occasion we conduct smoke testing to detect failures and leaks within the wastewater collection system (sewer pipes) that allow rainwater, creek water and other storm water run-off to enter the system.Smoke testing is a technique where smoke is blown into the sewer system, and the smoke escapes through leaks in the sewers.

We will always let you know ahead of time if we are conducting this type of testing in your ‘hood with a door hanger.

We instruct those that will have smoke testing occur in their neighborhood to ensure that all wastewater pipes have been filled with water recently and that all toilets are filled with water.

Some things to know about smoke testing:

  • Smoke should not enter your home or business unless you have defective plumbing or dry drain traps.  Running water will block smoke from entering your home at these locations.
  • Crews will not need to enter into your home or business.
  • You can expect to see smoke escape through vent stacks on the roof of your building – this is a sign that the building’s plumbing is properly installed.
  • The smoke is white to gray in color, nearly odorless, and is non-toxic and non-staining. The smoke will not leave residue or create a fire hazard.  The smoke IS NOT harmful to people or pets.


So the next time you see one of our staff or contractors with a smoke machine, remember we aren’t sending smoke signals, just making sure that any leaks are identified and fixed ASAP.