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Potable and Drainage Water Mains – Safe Water Supply and Efficient Wastewater Management

chlorinating and sampling for SLP Client - ongoing work including chlorination services and pressure testing.

Potable and Drainage Water Mains - Safe Water Supply and Efficient Wastewater Management

    Water mains play a crucial role in our daily lives, delivering clean drinking water and removing wastewater from our homes and businesses.

    At Pipe Testing Services (PTS), we understand the importance of maintaining these essential systems. Our team carries out works for both potable & drainage water mains regularly for clients across the UK. Importantly, we’re familiar with the different aspects of each, and their differences when it comes to works required. Each of us at PTS are all EUSR qualified to carry out pressure testing.

    In both systems, hydrostatic pressure testing is crucial for ensuring operational reliability and safety before commissioning and during periodic maintenance. With that said, let’s take a look at how it all works, what we do for our clients, and, how potable and drainage water mains differ.

    Get a Quote for Water Main Testing – take a look here. Alternatively, take a look at our dedicated site for Hydrostatic pressure testing for more information.


    Potable Water Mains: Delivering Safe Drinking Water

    Potable water mains are the lifelines of our communities, transporting safe drinking water from treatment plants to our taps. These mains are typically made of materials such as polyethylene (PE), PVC, or ductile iron, chosen for their durability and resistance to corrosion. Ensure the pipeline’s ability to safely carry drinking water without leaks or contamination.

    Design and Installation

    The design of potable water mains involves careful consideration of factors like:

    Our team at PTS works closely with water companies and contractors to ensure proper installation and testing of these critical systems. The job we’re faced with is to ensure the pipeline’s ability to safely carry drinking water without leaks or contamination.

    Take a look at your recent blog post – Hydrostatic Testing of Underground Pipelines – to see how we navigate pipelines underground; the techniques and advanced methods we use.

    chlorinating and sampling for SLP Client - ongoing work including chlorination services and pressure testing.

    Hydrostatic Pressure Testing for Potable Water Mains

    Purpose of Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

    • As mentioned above, the primary goal is to verify that water mains are leak-free and secure.
    • It ensures that new pipelines meet safety standards before being put into service.

    Here, we explain the key steps. The test procedure, the work we carry out, looks a little something like this:

    What’s a STP (System Test Pressure)?

    The System Test Pressure (STP) is the pressure level used during hydrostatic pressure testing of water mains to confirm the integrity and leak-free performance of newly installed pipelines. The STP depends on the material and rating of the pipe, generally being 1.5 times the pipe’s rated pressure for PE and PVC pipes.

    We use state-of-the-art equipment to conduct these tests. from small service pipes to large trunk mains. Our team ensures that new or repaired water mains meet stringent safety standards before being put into service. 

    Learn More About Our Hydrostatic Testing Services

    Maintenance and Challenges for Potable Water Mains

    Regular maintenance of potable water mains is essential to prevent leaks. Moreover, maintenance improves water quality, and, extends the lifespan of the infrastructure. This is essential because of the common challenges that comes with all water mains. We often encounter;

    That’s why, at PTS, we offer comprehensive leak detection and repair services to address these issues promptly and efficiently. Whether its potable water mains above or below ground, across the UK, while provide a cost-effective service. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, for a consultation and a personalised quote.

    Drainage Water Mains: Efficient Wastewater Management

    Drainage water mains, also known as sewer mains, are responsible for carrying wastewater away from buildings for treatment. These systems are typically made of durable materials like polyethylene pipes, designed to withstand the corrosive nature of sewage.

    Design Considerations

    Key factors in drainage water main design include:

    Proper Slope for Gravity-Driven Flow

    • The slope (or gradient) of the drainage pipe is crucial. It allows wastewater to flow naturally by gravity.
    • A steeper slope ensures faster flow, but it must be balanced to prevent excessive velocity and erosion.
    • The recommended slope varies based on pipe diameter and material. For example, PVC pipes typically require a minimum slope of 0.25% (1/400) for efficient drainage.

    Alignment and Connections

    • Proper alignment ensures smooth flow and minimizes the risk of blockages.
    • Avoid sharp bends or abrupt changes in direction.
    • Use appropriate fittings and connectors to maintain alignment and prevent leaks.

    Capacity for Peak Flow Rates

    • Drainage systems must handle peak flow rates during heavy rainfall or other events.
    • Sizing the pipe appropriately ensures it can accommodate the maximum expected flow.
    • Factors affecting capacity include catchment area, rainfall intensity, and local regulations

    Testing and Planning

    • Our experienced team assists in planning drainage systems.
    • We consider factors like soil type, land use, and environmental impact.
    • Hydrostatic pressure testing verifies system integrity before commissioning.

    Hydrostatic Testing for Drainage Mains

    While similar to potable water main testing, hydrostatic testing of drainage mains focuses on:

    PTS employs rigorous testing protocols to guarantee the integrity of drainage water mains, protecting both public health and the environment. Our team carries out pressure testing for ground work contractors, house builders, and, tier 1 and 2 frame work contractors.

    Maintenance and Common Issues

    Similarly, there are common issues that can occur with drainage systems and mains. That’s why we perform maintenance to prevent these key issues:

    Blockages from Tree Root Intrusion

    Tree roots are naturally drawn to water sources, including drainage pipes. Over time, roots can infiltrate pipe joints and cause blockages.

    Preventive Measures:

    • Frequent inspections to identify root intrusion.
    • We can use root-resistant pipe materials or install root barriers.
    • We may prune trees away from drainage lines when possible, or advocated for.

    Sediment Build-Up

    Sediment (such as silt, sand, and debris) accumulates in drainage pipes. It reduces flow capacity and can lead to clogs.

    Preventive Measures:

    • Regular cleaning and flushing of drainage lines.
    • We can install sediment traps or catch basins to capture debris.
    • It’s important the gradients are properly designed to prevent sediment settling.

    Structural Damage from Ground Movement

    Settlement, subsidence, or ground shifts can damage drainage mains. Cracks, misalignment, or joint separation may occur.

    Preventive Measures:

    • We Use flexible materials to withstand ground movement.
    • Implement proper bedding and compaction during installation.
    • Our team monitors areas prone to subsidence or soil instability.

    Environmental Impact and Sustainability

    At PTS, we’re committed to minimising the environmental impact of water main installations and repairs. We employ sustainable practices such as:

    • Trenchless technologies for minimal surface disruption
    • Rehabilitation of existing pipes where possible
    • Water conservation during testing procedures

    By choosing PTS for your water main projects, you’re not only ensuring quality but also supporting environmentally responsible practices.

    FAQs - Potable and Drainage Water Mains

    What's the difference between potable and drainage water mains?

    Potable water mains carry clean drinking water to homes and businesses, while drainage water mains transport wastewater away for treatment. They’re designed and maintained differently due to their distinct purposes.

    The frequency of testing depends on factors like the age of the system, material type, and local regulations. Generally, new installations are tested before use, and existing systems may be tested every few years or when issues arise.

    Yes, tree roots can infiltrate drainage pipes through small cracks or joints, causing blockages and potential structural damage. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent this issue.

    Common causes include age-related deterioration, ground movement, temperature changes, and excessive pressure. Regular testing and maintenance can help identify potential issues before they lead to breaks.

    Hydrostatic testing identifies leaks or weak points in the system before it’s put into service. This ensures that contaminants can’t enter potable water mains and that wastewater doesn’t leak from drainage mains into the surrounding soil.

    The choice of material depends on factors like soil conditions, water chemistry, and pressure requirements. Common materials include polyethylene, PVC, and ductile iron for potable water mains, and polyethylene for drainage mains.

    The lifespan of water mains can vary greatly depending on the material, installation quality, and environmental factors. With proper maintenance, many systems can last 50-100 years or more.

    Get in Contact with PTS for Expert Water Main Testing Services

    At Pipe Testing Services (PTS), we’re dedicated to ensuring the integrity and safety of both potable and drainage water mains. Our comprehensive testing services adhere to the highest industry standards, helping to protect public health, the environment, and your infrastructure investments.

    If you have any questions about water main testing or need assistance with your project, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team at PTS.

    Phone – 01922 451646

    Email –

    Address – Unit 27 Birchbrook Industrial Estate, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffs, WS14 0DJ