Storage tanks for fertilizer, oil, and other substances must undergo hydrostatic testing, also known as hydrotesting or pressure tests. It maintains the safety and integrity of the structures. This ensures that the tanks can withstand pressure buildup and will not fail. Leaks are the most commonplace concern.
Hydrostatic testing was formerly a main requirement for API 653 tanks. The API Standard 653 evaluates whether a tank is fit for service, assessing whether there is degradation among the pressure containing components. Though you may have an engineer available who maintains the tanks, it is still better that you hire someone with an API 653 certification to do the inspections for you.
Pressuring Up and De-Watering
Although hydrotesting for restored tanks are no longer a requirement under the new API 653 procedure, it is still a crucial element for your tank upkeep. An inspector conducts the tests on the tank and its pipe connections by pumping it with water.
This “pressuring up” will allow the inspector to see whether the structures are intact and capable of withstanding the minimum pressure requirements.
They identify weak areas and take note of any leaks, before draining the structure of fluids in a procedure known as “de-watering”.
Hydrotesting ensures that your tank continues to operate reliably. This prevents leaks and guards against tank ruptures or explosions. Leaks are a more commonplace problem.
Why it is Best Left to Professionals
Hydrotesting requires specialized equipment and a significant amount of training. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have special measures in place to prevent injury during hydrostatic testing.
One unfortunate past incident was when two men were killed in an accident during the de-watering of a gas pipeline. An improperly anchored pipe broke free due to the mounting pressure and struck them.
As this is a risky venture, it is best to leave all testing for certified personnel, as they have the experience and the training necessary to conduct a successful hydrostatic test.