Smoke Testing Program
Smoke testing is a simple means of locating openings in the sewer system that allow surface rainwater runoff to enter the sanitary sewers. Air combined with non-toxic smoke is forced into the sewer at manholes, usually located in the street, filling the system. Rainwater runoff can enter the system in two ways: inflow or infiltration (a.k.a I&I). Smoke will appear where there are defects in the main sewer line or sewer service connections, which identifies the infiltration of rain water. Smoke may also appear at connections to the sewer system, such as roof drains, patio drains and footing drains, which identifies inflow of rain water.
In 2015, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) developed the Inflow and Infiltration Control Plan (IICP). The IICP requires all municipalities with separated sewers to visually inspect their sanitary sewer by the end of 2020. A component of the plan requires smoke testing of areas deemed as "high-risk" for inflow and infiltration. The Village intends to continue the smoke testing program outside of the MWRD IICP requirements after 2019.
Eliminating I&I helps prevent basement back-ups, sanitary sewer street overflows and maintenance on the separated sewer system. For more information on the sewer system in Western Springs, please visit the Stormwater Managment page.
2019 Smoke Testing Project
The 2019 Smoke Testing project is focusing on the areas outlined as "high-risk" in the MWRD IICP. A map outlining the project area is available below. Buildings in the vicinity, and as far as 1-2 blocks away may witness smoke during the project. Residents, businesses and schools in this vicinity have been notified via mail. Door hangers and roadway signage will be posted the day before the project begins in your area. The project is scheduled to begin at the end of July with completion in early August, weather permitting. Below are other documents associated with the project: