Sanitary Sewer


The sanitary and storm sewer collection systems consist of two separate pipe networks designed to carry the sanitary wastewater and storm water runoff, respectively. The sanitary sewer collection system includes approximately 290 miles of pipe in various diameters and 20 lift stations, which transport the sanitary wastewater throughout the city to the wastewater treatment plant. The storm sewer collection system consists of 140 miles of pipe and open ditch, and two pumping stations which carry the runoff from streets and adjoining properties to Hay Creek, Apple Creek and the Missouri River.

Smoke Testing Sewer Lines

The City of Bismarck will be conducting a smoke test of its sanitary sewer system.  This is done periodically to locate sources of sewer odors, leaks, and breaks in sewer lines.  

Dates and Times
October 8 - November 2
Between the hours of 7:30am to 6:30pm.


  • North of 43rd Avenue between Washington Street and 19th Street
  • Interstate 94 to Divide Avenue between 16th Street and 33rd Street
The type of smoke used is harmless, white to yellowish-white in color and may have a slight odor.  It is harmless to people, plants and animals.

On the outside of your house or your neighbor’s house, you may notice smoke coming from:
  • sewer vents
  • gutters and downspouts
  • out of the ground along sewer lines
If the smoke gets into your house, please ventilate your house.  On the inside of your house, smoke or its odor may come out of the plumbing or fixtures.  This is an indication that dangerous gases and unpleasant odors from the sewer may enter your house.  This should not happen if your plumbing is in good working order.  You can minimize the chances of this happening by running enough water into the sinks, tubs, showers, and floor drains to fill the sewer trap with water.

Locating, identifying, and correcting the source of smoke entering your house or building is strongly advised.  The correction of any defects in the pipes on private property and the sewer service line from the house to the connection of the City main is the responsibility of the property owner.

If you detect smoke in your house and are uncertain about the cause, contact Public Works at 701-355-1700, option 0.