James Island, S.C.—Lots of people dialed 911 today when they saw smoke filling the air in a James Island neighborhood off Folly Road. Wave after wave of fire trucks responded to the calls coming from the neighborhood.

Turns out, none of the houses were on fire. The James Island Public Service District (JIPSD) was conducting smoke tests to check the sewer pipes for breaks or cracks.

They take off the man-hole covers, and pump a mineral oil-based smoke through the pipes. JIPSD says there is no need to worry about the smoke. “The smoke is non-toxic, non-staining, has a slight odor, is white to grey in color, does not create a fire hazard, and cannot harm humans or pets.”

Smoke coming out of the ground shows them where the lines are damaged. This also allows them to discover any damaged or missing “clean out caps.” JIPSD says, “Smoke testing is very important to our ongoing operations to keep our system in good condition.”

The testing will continue through March 10th. This schedule depends on weather and can be extended if rain prevents JISPSD from doing the tests.

CLICK HERE for more information about smoke testing in your neighborhood