If you see some smoke drifting out of the manholes around H Street, south of Harris over the next few weeks, don’t worry! There is no need to call the Fire Department! This is just the City of Eureka performing a standard smoke test on the sewer system. 

Map of the area where smoke testing will occur | Image from the City of Eureka

The test — which will begin Wednesday, Oct. 19 and last for the next several weeks — involves pumping smoke through the sewer pipes to identify any defects in the system. When this test is performed some smoke may drift out of the manholes in the street, and even from some building vents and sewer cleanouts. 

Again, this is nothing to worry about. You might remember that a few years ago, the smoke coming out of the sewers in Old Town prompted a minor panic. The City would like to avoid that happening again. So consider yourself warned. 

You can find more information in this City of Eureka press release:

Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Near H Street, south of Harris Street

The City of Eureka will be performing smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system at the above locations in Eureka beginning at 8:00am, on Wednesday, October 19th and will continue for the next few weeks. This testing involves introducing a non-toxic smoke into sewer manholes where it is forced through the sewer mains and laterals to locate defects in the system. Smoke will be visible in the area, and may travel to nearby sewer lines as well. There is no need to contact the Police or Fire Department, they have already been notified.

Traffic will remain open during testing; however, smoke may be visible exiting manholes. Please use caution while driving in the area. In addition to manholes, smoke will be visible coming from building vents and external cleanouts. This smoke is non-toxic, will not leave a residue, and will dissipate shortly after the test. Smoke should not enter buildings unless there is defective plumbing or dry drain traps. It is recommended that you flush all toilets and run water down all sinks, tubs, laundry drains, and floor drains prior to testing. Door hangers will be distributed before the testing occurs, notifying of the date and time of the testing. This work will be performed between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm, WEATHER PERMITTING.

The City of Eureka’s Contractor, National Plant Services, will be on site with information, should there be any questions. A representative of the company can be reached at (562) 896-1439.

The patience and cooperation of residents and business owners in the vicinity of the testing zone is greatly appreciated. Repairing and maintaining our sewer collection systems is vital to the health and safety of our residents.