Irish Water Self Lay Agreements – Manhole and Drain Testing — What is Involved? 

Irish Water’s stringent new Manhole and Drain Testing requirements are causing difficulties for many experienced builders and developers. In addition to strict requirements for the test itself, where errors in compliance can be costly. There may be different requirements for different installations. 

While the full list of requirements can be examined in Irish Water’s Wastewater Infrastructure Standard Details Manual, as well as the Quality Assurance (QA) Field Inspection Requirements Manual, below are a few useful tips to avoid the most common difficulties. 

Drain Testing: Get it right first time 

We get many calls from builders and developers who have either tried to carry out this testing themselves and had issues or others who are not familiar with what’s involved, don’t have the equipment or don’t want the hassle. It can be tricky to set up a test right to get the best result and can result in a false failure and unnecessary cost and delays. Having carried out this type of work in the industrial work for many years we are very comfortable with drain testing and have all the equipment needed to complete the work the first time and keep your project moving. 

If a section fails a test, we can use a variety of methods and equipment to locate the point of failure and can often repair it using no-dig solutions. Often an inspection with a CCTV camera will help with this and our testing teams will have this on hand to get the job done. We are glad to provide advice to our customers to help them through the process. 

We often hear that testing carried out by a builder themselves or by another drainage contractor has not been accepted by the Irish Water field engineer as it hasn’t met their requirements. If you’re hiring a contractor to run an air pressure test, ask if they are compliant with Irish Water’s new requirements. Their test results should be clear and methodologies defined. 

We provide a modern computerised pressure testing system which is fast, efficient, and produces a certification and transparent graph of all results obtained in the pressure test. This method is fully compliant with Irish Water’s Self Lay Agreement Requirements. 

irish water self lay agreements - manhole and drain testingManhole and Drain Testing: Pay Attention to the Different Steps Involved 

Irish Water require manholes to be hydrostatically tested (Water Test) in accordance with the IS En 1610 standard. The Irish Water field engineer may insist on witnessing these tests. A manhole test takes 30minutes following filling and time for absorption. This is a time consuming process and the allowable losses are very small so it pays to do it right the first time. Preparation and the use of the right equipment are key. 

Our computerised drain testing system is ideal for this manhole testing and documents the particulars of the manhole, filling time, stabilisation period, test period allowable losses and actual losses. The pressure graph is clear, transparent and gives Irish Water confidence in the results. 

Pump Sump Commissioning: Avoid Test Non-compliance If you need to install a pump sump, before Irish Water will allow you to commission it, you’ll need to do a water tightness or leak tightness test on the tank in accordance with Civil Engineering Specification for the Water Industry, 7th Edition (CESWI). When it comes to pump sumps, it’s really important to ensure that the testing process will be accepted by Irish Water the first time around as the test alone (whether it’s compliant or not) can take up to seven days to complete. If the test fails or isn’t accepted by Irish Water it could delay the commissioning of your system and your Project. 

To meet requirements, ensure that the hydrostatic test is done using modern, computerized testing systems using a level probe and provides a fully transparent graph for inspection. Our modern, specialised equipment produces fully compliant pump sump test results. 

If you’d like more information on what’s involved in manhole and drain testing, feel free to request a call from one of our experts. Contact us on 1800 437 246 


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We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kildare & all of Ireland to ensure that you are always covered when domestic, commercial and industrial drainage problems arise.

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