Sewer Main Testing
Line Acceptance Testing: Both ends of the pipe are blocked off at manholes with inflatable balls – one just plugged and the other with a test unit attached. Low pressure air is introduced into the sealed pipeline thru one of the balls. A gauge is used to accurately measure the acceptable pressure needed in the line.
Leak location is actually a series of small line acceptance tests. Two inflatable balls are connected and pulled through the pipe 25 feet at a time to find a leak. An air test is run each time the balls are stopped. When a section fails, the contractor is notified so that they can either check the services at the point of failure or dig up the line to find where the leak is occurring.
Regular testing and inspection of sewer mains is crucial for identifying issues before they become catastrophic emergencies. As sewer systems age, cracks, leaks, blockages, and other problems can develop underground and go unnoticed for long periods. This allows contamination, backups, and overflows to occur, posing serious health and environmental risks. By implementing a proactive maintenance program that includes CCTV pipe inspection, smoke testing, dye testing, and hydrostatic pressure testing, municipalities and utilities can pinpoint problem areas, assess conditions, and make repairs before total failure happens. The small upfront investment in preventative testing and maintenance helps avoid huge expenses later on for emergency spot repairs or full line replacements. Just as important, it protects public health by reducing the likelihood of raw sewage release. The EPA strongly encourages communities to incorporate sewer testing into asset management programs. When done regularly, it provides invaluable data to guide cost-effective investments in critical infrastructure.