Intro to: Hydrostatic Testing


Use of testing technology is key to pipelines operating safely.

One technology used is hydrostatic testing, a form of pressure test.

Done during construction and operation, it uses water pressure to:

  • Assure pipes can hold more pressure than needed in operation,
  • confirm pipeline integrity, and
  • Identify weak areas. 

Today, hydrostatic testing is often used when a “smart pig” inspection isn’t possible.

A “smart pig” is a high tech monitoring tool that travels through pipelines and identifies defects.

Sometimes, ‘smart pig’ inspections and hydrostatic testing are both used.

After a “smart pig” inspection, a hydrostatic test may be used to confirm pipeline integrity, but may not be required on the entire length of the pipeline.

'Smart pig’ inspections identify critical segments of the pipeline, and hydrostatic testing on these segments offers additional certainty that the pipeline remains safe to operate.

To run a hydrostatic test on an operating pipeline, operators:

  • Empty the pipe section,
  • close valves to lock in the section to be tested,
  • verify the pipe can take the pressure, and
  • check for leaks.

Once the test is completed, the water is taken out, treated and disposed of appropriately.

The amount of pipe that can be tested depends on the terrain profile.

It may be as short as a few hundred meters or up to about 50 kilometers.

Have questions about Hydrostatic Testing, Pressure Testing, or the role of the NEB?

For more information on the NEB, please see our other videos or contact the NEB directly.

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