City to resume smoke testing of sewers

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning in July, the City of Sequim Public Works Department will resume testing the sanitary sewers with smoke to find defects, breaks, leaks and faulty connections in the sewer system.

The tests will start at the Cedar Ridge pump station off of Water View Drive. The crew will test the lines north of U.S. Highway 101 heading west until they reach North Blake Avenue.

Later this summer, tests will be run in the Jeannie’s Meadow neighborhood north of Washington Street and west of Priest Road.

Neighborhoods and individual properties will be notified in advance when smoke testing will take place in their specific area.

Residents should look for a bright pink door hanger and green and blue A-frame board signs in their neighborhood with the specific dates for testing in their vicinity.

Testing involves opening manholes and filling the sewer lines with non-toxic smoke.  During the tests residents may see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings or from holes in the ground such as manhole covers, storm drains and building foundations.

If residents see smoke, there is no need for alarm. The smoke has no odor, is non-toxic, non-staining, does not create a fire hazard and will dissipate in a few minutes. There is no need for the testing crew to enter any homes or building.

The Public Works Department recommends that residents flush all toilets and run water down all sinks, tubs and laundry drains before the first day of the testing period to make sure that all drain traps contain enough water to prevent smoke from entering the building through the drains.

If residents see smoke in their building, they should open the doors and windows to ventilate the premises and to clear smoke. Simulated smoke will not stain walls or furniture and it will not leave a residue.

Simulated smoke is not harmful to your health, but may cause some coughing. Smoke irritation is temporary and should disappear after exposure has ceased. When possible avoid unnecessary exposure to simulated smoke.

If residents do see smoke in their building, they should consult a licensed plumber in the near future to identify the smoke access area, as the potential exists for sewer gases to enter the building in the same manner.

If you experience smoke in your house or from vents in your home and did not have a flier on your door or A-frame sign visible on your block, call 9-1-1.

Clallam County Fire District 3, 9-1-1 dispatch and city police will be notified of the testing and will be updated throughout the test period of testing locations.

Prior to the testing, notify Pete Tjemsland or Public Works if there is an individual in your building, business or residents who has respiratory problems and/or mobility limitations.

For questions, contact Public Works Utilities Manager Pete Tjemsland at 683-4908 or


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