Non-toxic smoke tests for sewer cracks in Dot, Mattapan

A Boston Water & Sewer image shows smoke tests in progress.

Workers for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission will out and about in Dorchester and Mattapan over the coming days and weeks using an odorless and non-toxic smoke to test for leaks in catch basins and yard drains. The Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study (SSES) seeks to identify defects such as cracked or broken pipe or improper connections to sewers. Daily notices are sent out to fire and police officials to alert them to the tests and project boundaries, which will shift due to weather and other factors, according to the commission.

“If there are no defects in the Commission’s sewer system, then smoke will only be seen from the roof vents of each building,” read a notice on the commission’s website.

This week, much of the work is centered in the Polish Triangle and Columbia-Savin Hill sections, including Buttonwood Street, Mount Vernon Street and Sydney Street, according to a location report from the contractor, Flow Assessment Services.

For more information about the program contact: Ron Agostinelli Project 617-989-7435 or