Testing new pipelines for leaks is a key part of making sure the nation’s water networks are resilient and reliable, but there are several things that can go wrong when pressure testing. Here are some of the most common problems and how you can make sure that they don’t impact the efficiency and accuracy of your pipeline pressure tests.
INSUFFICIENT TEST PREPARATION
As with any task, if you don’t properly prepare for your pipeline test, you’ll be inviting problems later down the line. To make sure you’re prepared, ensure you follow this checklist:
- Are all the method statements and risk assessments in place?
- Is there enough water available on site to fill the main?
- Is there adequate pressure to contend with any elevations on the line been filled?
- Are there any air valves installed?
- If swabbing, can this be done in one operation?
- Are all the pressure ratings of the fittings and equipment being used for testing greater than the system test pressure (STP
- Do you have the correct set of equipment for the test?
- Are the instruments used for recording data calibrated and traceable through UKAS?
- Has there been adequate resting time between current and prior test attempt?
TEST DATA IS MISSING
Are your test results not as extensive or in-depth as you wished? The problem may be with the type of pump you are using, or the way your data recorder is set up. If pumps are operating too quickly and the test pressure is achieved faster than the increments of the data being recorded, data will be lost.
Different hydrostatic tests require different sets of equipment, so be sure to check which testing tools, pumps and data loggers you require before you begin and how they need to be properly set, otherwise it’s likely your test will produce false readings.
UNEXPECTEDLY LENGTHY TEST DURATION
If your hydrostatic pressure test is taking a lot longer than it should be, this may be due to an inadequately sized pump or there may be air within the pipe. If air is the case, the pipe will be at a far greater risk of suddenly releasing the pressurised air, potentially leading to damage and injury – and even if this doesn’t happen, the test may take significantly longer to complete.
If you’d like to learn more about pipeline pressure testing and why it’s such an important tool for utilities and contractors, make sure to visit the other articles in this series:
- Leakage, shortage, stress: the challenges facing UK pipeline networks
- What is pipeline pressure testing?
- How to conduct pipeline pressure tests
- Ant Hire Solutions’ 9 steps to leak-free networks
For more information on Ant Hire Solutions’ range of products and services, please contact our team today.