Hydrostatic Testing: Public Notification and Signage

Signs for safety & information

Signs for safety & information

NCS Fluid Handling Systems provides crucial support and testing services to transmission systems owners when large API storage tanks are constructed or Pipelines are routed. Canada is host to many liquid and gas terminals owners/operators with some of the largest and most complex systems in the world. With both the integrity and reliability of these storage tank and pipeline systems being of utmost importance, NCS makes these crucial testing services our number one priority.

These services include hydrostatic testing of these API 650 new built tanks as well as API-653 recertified existing tanks and pipeline networks. Testing these systems is a crucial component of the lifecycle and the maintenance of terminals and pipeline systems, and are performed to mitigate potential incidents.

Signage and Hydrostatic testing

NCS Fluid Handling Systems designers and the administrative team work closely with our customers to properly advise proximate landowners and the public of the test dates and general location of the temporary test water diversion system and/or pipeline segment being tested. During the setup and operation of the test, NCS Fluid Handing Systems provides signage that is posted on public access areas along the route.

Landowners and the public in the test route area can expect the following:

  • Installation of temporary water supply systems along the pipeline route or tank terminal.
  • While the installation of the water diversion will occur during the day, work may occur at night during the test and hold periods so as to maintain the prescribed duration of required test. In the case of a tank, this may be 24 hours hold and in the case of a pipeline typically a minimum of eight sustained hours at pressure is required.
  • Public awareness and safety - Signs are posted at public access points along the test routes to provide important safety information and, in the case of pipeline tests, a safe distance of least 100 feet away from the pipe during the test.


What is hydrostatic testing?

Hydrostatic or Hydro testing is a carefully designed and planned process that NCS provides. Working in collaboration with the terminal engineers and owners, NCS provides the opportunity to confirm a threshold measurement for safe operations according to federal regulatory standards.

In the case of a API 650 or 653 storage tank test, the hydrostatic test is performed following the completion of construction of the tank and all operational components. The hydrostatic test is a fully functional test checking for proper settlement, stability, operational testing of rolling roof ladders, internal floating roofs, drains and seals using a test medium with a specific gravity greater than the designed for cargo.

When a newly constructed pipeline is completed, a hydrostatic test is performed following construction and prior to placing a pipeline into service. Existing pipelines will also be hydro tested on a predetermined schedule to confirm pipeline integrity and shipping capacity.

What are the steps involved in hydrostatic testing an existing pipeline?

A simple summary of testing would be as described below:

Step 1: Following the planning and design, the water fill plan is completed and all regulatory applications and licenses are in place for temporary water diversions, the process may very depending on new or existing pipeline tests but simply put, water is injected into the pipe between groups urethane cylinders (commonly referred to as “pigs”) and as pigs are moved through the line until it reaches the identified segment of pipe for testing.

Step 2: Then the pressure of the tested segment is increased to reach and maintain the desired test levels and hold time. If there is a release of water or pressure drops during the test, the source of the leak is located, the line is de-energized, and the affected section is repaired and re-tested.

Step 3: In some cases where large segments of pipeline are being tested, the segments of pipeline under pressure is patrolled by helicopter as well as on foot. Sophisticated computer programs are used to data log and monitor test pressures.

Step 4: Upon completion of the test, the water typically is returned to the source or in some cases the test water will be moved down the pipeline to a tank terminal. In either case the water is cleaned, treated, and disposed of in accordance with provincial or federal regulations and/or environmental permits requirements.