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ACI 350.

1M-10
(metric)

Specification for Tightness Testing of


Environmental Engineering Concrete
Containment Structures
(ACI 350.1M-10) and Commentary

Reported by ACI Committee 350


First Printing
March 2011
American Concrete Institute

Advancing concrete knowledge

Specification for Tightness Testing of Environmental Engineering


Concrete Containment Structures (ACI 350.1M-10) and Commentary

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ISBN 978-0-87031-420-9
An in.-lb version of this document (ACI 350.1-10) ACI 350.1M-10
is available at www.concrete.org

Specification for Tightness Testing of Environmental


Engineering Concrete Containment Structures
(ACI 350.1M-10) and Commentary
An ACI Standard
Reported by ACI Committee 350

Satish K. Sachdev
Chair
Jon B. Ardahl* John W. Baker
Vice Chair Secretary

Iyad M. Alsamsam Charles S. Hanskat Daniel J. McCarthy Andrew R. Philip


*
Steven R. Close Keith W. Jacobson Andrew R. Minogue Risto Protic
Robert E. Doyle M. Reza Kianoush Javeed Munshi William C. Sherman
Anthony L. Felder Ramon E. Lucero Jerry Parnes Lawrence M. Tabat
Carl A. Gentry

*
Subcommittee members who produced this specification.
The committee would like to thank David Poole, Paul Hedli, and Kyle Loyd for their contributions to this specification.

These test methods give procedures and criteria for tightness testing of CONTENTS
environmental engineering concrete structures. They are applicable to (mandatory portion follows)
liquid and gas containment structures constructed with concrete or a
combination of concrete and other materials. This document includes
hydrostatic, surcharged hydrostatic, and pneumatic tests. SPECIFICATION
These test methods may involve hazardous materials, operations, and Section 1General requirements, p. 3
equipment. This document does not purport to address all of the safety 1.1Scope
problems associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this 1.1.1Work specified
document to establish appropriate safety and health practices and 1.1.2Work not specified
determine the applicability of regulatory limitations before use.
1.2Definitions
Keywords: containment structures; hydrostatic; leakage; pneumatic;
1.3Description
reservoirs; tests; tightness; tightness criteria. 1.4Submittals
1.4.1General
1.4.2Repair procedures
ACI Committee Reports, Guides, Manuals, and Commentaries 1.4.3Test reports
are intended for guidance in planning, designing, executing,
and inspecting construction. This document is intended for the 1.5Quality assurance
use of individuals who are competent to evaluate the 1.5.1Duties and responsibilities of Contractor
significance and limitations of its content and recommendations
and who will accept responsibility for the application of the
material it contains. The American Concrete Institute disclaims
any and all responsibility for the stated principles. The Institute
shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising therefrom.
ACI 350.1M-10 supersedes 350.1M-01, was adopted October 25, 2010, and published
Reference to this document shall not be made in contract March 2011.
documents. If items found in this document are desired by the Copyright 2011, American Concrete Institute.
Architect/Engineer to be a part of the contract documents, they All rights reserved including rights of reproduction and use in any form or by any
shall be restated in mandatory language for incorporation by means, including the making of copies by any photo process, or by electronic or
mechanical device, printed, written, or oral, or recording for sound or visual reproduction
the Architect/Engineer. or for use in any knowledge or retrieval system or device, unless permission in writing
is obtained from the copyright proprietors.

1
2 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

Section 2Hydrostatic tightness test for open or (nonmandatory portion follows)


covered containment structures, p. 4
2.1General Notes to Specifier, p. 9
2.1.1Scope General notes
2.2Products Foreword to Checklists
2.2.1Materials Mandatory Requirements Checklist
2.3Execution Optional Requirements Checklist
2.3.1Test preparation Submittals Checklist
2.3.2Hydrostatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative
criteria COMMENTARY
2.3.3Hydrostatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative Section R1General requirements, p. 11
criteria R1.1Scope
2.3.4Retesting R1.1.2Work not specified
R1.3Description
Section 3Surcharged hydrostatic tightness test
for closed containment structures, p. 5 Section R2Hydrostatic tightness test for open or
3.1General covered containment structures, p. 11
3.1.1Scope R2.1General
3.2Products R2.3.1Test preparation
3.2.1Materials R2.3.2Hydrostatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative
3.3Execution criteria
3.3.1Test preparation R2.3.3Hydrostatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative
criteria
3.3.2Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 1:
R2.3.4Retesting
Qualitative criteria
3.3.3Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 2:
Section R3Surcharged hydrostatic tightness
Quantitative criteria test for closed containment structures, p. 13
3.3.4Retesting R3.1General
R3.3.1Test preparation
Section 4Pneumatic tightness test for closed R3.3.2Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 1:
containment structures, p. 7 Qualitative criteria
4.1General R3.3.3Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 2:
4.1.1Scope Quantitative criteria
4.2Products R3.3.4Retesting
4.2.1Materials
4.3Execution Section R4Pneumatic tightness test for closed
4.3.1Test preparation containment structures, p. 14
4.3.2Pneumatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative R4.1General
criteria R4.3.1Test preparation
4.3.3Pneumatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative R4.3.2Pneumatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative
criteria criteria
4.3.4Retesting R4.3.3Pneumatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative
criteria
Section 5Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic R4.3.4Retesting
tightness test for closed containment structures,
p. 8 Section R5Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic
5.1General tightness test for closed containment structures,
5.1.1Scope p. 15
5.1.2Submittals R5.1General
5.2Products R5.3.1Test preparation
R5.3.2Hydrostatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2
5.2.1Materials
and retesting
5.3Execution
R5.3.3Pneumatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
5.3.1Test preparation
retesting
5.3.2Hydrostatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
retesting
Section R6References, p. 15
5.3.3Pneumatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
retesting (mandatory portion follows)
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 3

SPECIFICATION containment structure, covereda containment


structure where the contents are protected from exterior
SECTION 1GENERAL REQUIREMENTS contamination by the presence of a cover or roof over the top
1.1Scope of the containment structure.
1.1.1 Work specifiedThis Specification covers tightness containment structure, opena containment structure
testing of liquid and gaseous environmental containment where the top surface of the containment structures contents
structures designed to resist liquid or gaseous loads. Provisions is exposed to the atmosphere.
of this Specification shall govern except where other provisions Contract Documentsa set of documents supplied by
are specified in Contract Documents. Owner to Contractor as the basis for construction; these
1.1.1.1 These test methods are for the tightness testing of documents contain contract forms, contract conditions,
concrete environmental engineering liquid and gaseous specifications, drawings, addenda, and contract changes.
containment structures. The included tests are: Contractorthe person, firm, or entity under contract for
(a)Hydrostatic tightness test for open or covered contain- construction of the Work.
ment structures. environmental engineering concrete structuresas
(b)Surcharged hydrostatic tightness test for closed used in this Specification, concrete structures intended for
containment structures. conveying, storing, or treating water, wastewater, or other
(c)Pneumatic tightness test for closed containment nonhazardous liquids.
structures. fittingan object that passes through the concrete or is
(d) Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness test for embedded in the concrete to facilitate a connection to the
closed containment structures. containment structure.
1.1.1.2 The tightness testing procedures and requirements Ownerthe corporation, association, partnership,
contained herein are applicable to reservoirs, basins, and individual, public body, or authority for whom the Work is
tanks constructed of concrete or a combination of concrete constructed.
and other materials. Preparatory items indicated are permittedaccepted by or acceptable to Archi-
required, unless otherwise specified, but the waiver of such tect/Engineer, usually pertaining to a request by Contractor,
items shall not change the test criteria. or when specified in Contract Documents.
1.1.1.3 Each cell of multi-cell containment structures Project Drawingsgraphic presentation of project
shall be considered a single containment structure and tested requirements.
individually unless otherwise permitted. Project Specificationsthe written documents that detail
1.1.1.4 The hydrostatic tightness testing procedures and requirements for the Work in accordance with service
requirements herein are also applicable for tightness testing parameters and other specific criteria.
of open concrete liquid transmission structures such as cast- Reference Specificationa specification that is intended
in-place concrete channels and conduits. to be a reference standard for Contractor to use in the
1.1.1.5 The hydrostatic tightness testing procedures and construction of the Work.
requirements herein, where applicable, can be used for tightness reference standardsstandards of a technical society,
testing of concrete paved structures, such as channels and organization, or association, including the codes of local or
impoundments. state authorities, which are referenced in Contract Documents.
1.1.2 Work not specifiedThese provisions are not requiredmandatory in this Specification or Contract
intended for hazardous material primary or secondary Documents.
containment structures, cryogenic storage structures, high- soap sudswater impregnated with soap or synthetic
pressure gas tanks, or miscellaneous precast concrete structures detergent used to indicate air passage through joints or
such as culverts, pipes, and manholes. defects by the formation of soap bubbles.
submitprovide to Architect/Engineer for review or
1.2Definitions acceptance.
accepteddetermined to be satisfactory by Archi- submittaldocument or material provided to Archi-
tect/Engineer. tect/Engineer for review or acceptance.
Architect/Engineerthe Architect, Engineer, architectural vacuum boxa box with a transparent top, open
firm, or engineering firm, developing Contract Documents, bottom, and air sealing bottom edges used in conjunction
or administering the Work under Contract Documents, or with an air pump capable of creating at least a 0.02 MPa
both. vacuum within the box.
containment structurea basin, reservoir, channel, or Workthe entire construction or separately identifiable parts
conduit to be tightness tested regardless of whether it has a thereof required to be furnished under Contract Documents.
closed or open top or is constructed partially or entirely of
concrete. 1.3Description
containment structure, closeda containment struc- 1.3.1 The structural adequacy of the containment structure
ture where the roof or cover is used to prevent the escape of shall be verified for the test pressure or pressures to be
the contents, including gases emanating from the contents, to applied. One type of test shall not be substituted for another
the outside atmosphere. type of test without acceptance of the Architect/Engineer.
4 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

1.3.2 Unless specifically allowed by the Architect/Engi- 2.2Products


neer, the containment structure shall not be tested before all 2.2.1 Materials
of the structure is complete and the concrete has attained its 2.2.1.1 WaterUse potable water unless otherwise
specified compressive strength. specified.

1.4Submittals 2.3Execution
1.4.1 GeneralSubmittals required in this Specification 2.3.1 Test preparation
shall be submitted for review and acceptance. 2.3.1.1 The exposed concrete surfaces of the containment
1.4.2 Repair proceduresSubmit for acceptance the structure, including the floor, shall be cleaned of all foreign
proposed repair methods, materials, and modifications material and debris. Standing water in or outside of the
needed to assure that the Work will meet tightness require- containment structure that would interfere with the examination
ments of Contract Documents. of the exposed concrete surfaces of the containment structure
1.4.3 Test reportsTest reports provided by the shall be removed. The concrete surfaces and concrete joints
Contractor shall include the results of tightness testing shall be visually examined by the Contractor for potential
performed during the course of the Work and shall be leakage points. Areas the Contractor believes are areas of
submitted to the Architect/Engineer. Test reports shall potential leakage shall be repaired before filling the containment
include test locations in the containment structure, dates of structure with water. Unless otherwise specified, coatings
testing, water level measurements, amounts of precipitation shall not be applied until after the hydrostatic tightness
or evaporation (when applicable), measured temperatures testing has been completed.
and volume corrections (if any), retest results, corrective 2.3.1.2 All openings, fittings, and pipe penetrations in
actions taken, if any, and final results. Final reports shall be the containment structure shell shall be visually examined at
provided within 7 days of test completion. both faces, if practical.
2.3.1.3 Liners that are mechanically locked to the
1.5Quality assurance surface during the placement of the concrete shall be
1.5.1 Duties and responsibilities of ContractorUnless installed before the hydrostatic tightness testing. Interior
otherwise specified in Contract Documents, the Contractor liners shall be visually examined for pinholes, tears, and
shall prepare and fill the containment structure and provide partially fused splices by the Contractor. Integrity testing of
access and equipment and make the measurements and interior liners, when required by the Contract Documents,
observations for the required testing. The Architect/Engi- shall be performed and passed prior to hydrostatic testing.
neer shall have access to observe measurements and witness Deficiencies shall be repaired.
observations included in the test reports, for verification. 2.3.1.4 All containment structure penetrations and
inlet/outlets shall be securely sealed to prevent the loss of
SECTION 2HYDROSTATIC TIGHTNESS TEST water from the containment structure during the test. If the
FOR OPEN OR COVERED containment structure is to be filled using the containment
CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES structure inlet/outlet pipe, positive means shall be provided
2.1General to check that water is not entering or leaving the containment
2.1.1 ScopeThis section covers the hydrostatic tightness
structure through this pipe once the containment structure is
test, which consists of two parts. Part 1 shall be a qualitative
filled to the test level.
criterion. Part 2 shall be a quantitative criterion expressed as
2.3.1.5 Containment structure penetrations and pipe,
the maximum allowable percent volume loss per day.
channel, and conduit inlets/outlets shall be monitored before
2.1.1.1 The hydrostatic tightness test shall be the prelimi- and during the test to verify the watertightness of these
nary test for all other tightness tests as well as an individual test. appurtenances. Seepage at these locations shall be repaired
2.1.1.2 Containment structures shall be tested for hydro- before test measurements. No allowance shall be made in
static tightness when required by Contract Documents. test measurements for uncorrected known points of seepage.
When a hydrostatic tightness test is required and a particular The flow from any underdrain system, if a system is
criterion is not specified, the quantitative criteria shall be: provided, shall be monitored during this same period, and
any increase in flow shall be recorded and considered for
Default hydrostatic test information as a part of the hydrostatic tightness testing.
Type of containment structure quantitative criterion
Fully lined prior to hydrostatic test No measurable loss 2.3.1.6 The ground water level shall be brought to a level
Required to have secondary containment No measurable loss below the top of the base slab and kept at that elevation or at
With monolithically placed floors designed a lower elevation during the test.
0.0125% of volume per day
to be shrinkage crack free 2.3.1.7 No backfill shall be placed against the walls or on
Other types 0.050% of volume per day the wall footings of the containment structures to be tested,
Concrete-paved reservoirs and channels 0.100% of volume per day unless otherwise specified.
2.3.1.8 The initial filling of a new containment structure
2.1.1.3 No measurable loss of water means the drop in should not exceed a rate of 1.2 m/hour. Filling shall be
the water surface shall not exceed 3 mm in 3 days when continued until the water surface is at the design maximum
adjusted for evaporation and precipitation. liquid level, or either 25 mm below any fixed overflow level
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 5

in covered containment structure or 100 mm in open 2.3.3.8 The change in water volume in the containment
containment structure, whichever is lower. structure shall be calculated and corrected, if necessary, for
2.3.1.9 Unlined concrete containment structures shall be evaporation, precipitation, and temperature. If the loss
kept full to the level specified in 2.3.1.8 for at least 3 days exceeds the required criterion, the containment structure
before Part 2 of the hydrostatic tightness test described in shall be considered to have failed Part 2 of the test.
2.3.3. 2.3.4 Retesting
2.3.2 Hydrostatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative 2.3.4.1 A restart of the test shall be required when test
criteria measurements become unreliable due to unusual precipita-
2.3.2.1 The exterior surfaces of the containment structure tion or other external factors.
shall be observed in both the early mornings and late after- 2.3.4.2 It shall be permitted to immediately retest a
noons during the 3-day period before Part 2 of the test. If any containment structure failing Part 2 of the hydrostatic test
water is observed on the containment structure exterior when Part 1 is passed. If the containment structure fails the
surfaces, including joints, repaired honeycombed areas and second test or if not immediately retested after the first test
cracks, where moisture can be picked up on a dry hand, the failure, the interior of the containment structure shall be
containment structure shall be considered to have failed Part observed for probable problem areas by the Contractor. The
1 of the hydrostatic test. containment structure shall only be retested after the prob-
2.3.2.2 Wet areas on top of the wall footing shall not be able problem areas are repaired.
cause to fail Part 1 of the hydrostatic tightness test, unless the 2.3.4.3 Containment structures shall be retested until
water can be observed to be flowing. they meet the required Part 1 and Part 2 criteria. Repairs shall
2.3.2.3 Although Part 2 of the test may begin prior to be made before each retest.
completion of repairs for Part 1, all defects causing the
failure of Part 1 of the hydrostatic tightness test shall be SECTION 3SURCHARGED
repaired before acceptance of the containment structure. HYDROSTATIC TIGHTNESS TEST
2.3.3 Hydrostatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative FOR CLOSED CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES
criteria 3.1General
2.3.3.1 Part 2 of the hydrostatic tightness test shall not be 3.1.1 ScopeThis section covers the surcharged hydrostatic
scheduled for a period when the forecast is for a difference tightness test, which consists of two parts. Part 1 shall be a
of more than 19C between the ambient temperature readings at qualitative criterion. Part 2 shall be a quantitative criterion and
the times of the initial and final level measurements of the the results shall be expressed as the maximum allowable
water surface. The test shall also not be scheduled when the percent loss per day of the test water volume, as specified in
weather forecast indicates the water surface could freeze 2.1.1.2.
before the test is completed. 3.1.1.1 Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testing shall be
2.3.3.2 The vertical distance to the water surface shall be confined to containment structures that have been designed
measured to within 2 mm from a fixed point on the containment and constructed to be filled with liquid to the underside of the
structure above the water surface. Measurements shall be roof and surcharged. The surcharge test pressure at the
recorded at 24-hour intervals. underside of the roof high point shall be within the specified
2.3.3.3 The test period for the no measurable loss criterion pressure range.
shall be 3 days (72 hours). For other criteria, the test period 3.1.1.2 Containment structures shall be tested for
shall be at least the theoretical time required to lower the surcharged hydrostatic tightness when required by Contract
water surface 10 mm, assuming a loss of water at the Documents. When a surcharged hydrostatic tightness test is
maximum allowable rate. The test period need not be longer required and a specific criterion is not stated, the quantitative
than 5 days. criteria shall be based on the containment structure construc-
2.3.3.4 The water temperature shall be recorded at a tion type, as described in 2.1.1.2, except a surcharged
depth of 450 mm, unless otherwise specified, below the water containment structure required to have no measurable loss
surface at the start and end of the test. Volume corrections for shall also have a monolithically placed roof (as well as the
temperature differences shall be included in Part 2 of the test. floor) designed to be shrinkage-crack-free.
2.3.3.5 In uncovered containment structures, evaporation 3.1.1.3 When no measurable loss of water is specified or
and precipitation shall be measured. Evaporation shall also be required for containment structures subjected to a
measured in well-ventilated covered containment structures. surcharged hydrostatic tightness test, no measurable loss of
2.3.3.6 The containment structure shall continue to be water shall mean a drop in water surface in the standpipe
observed in both the early mornings and late afternoons to (refer to 3.3.1.8) indicating less than 0.01% loss of containment
verify compliance with Part 1 of the hydrostatic tightness structure water volume per day.
testing during Part 2 of the hydrostatic test.
2.3.3.7 At the end of the test period, the water surface 3.2Products
shall be recorded to within 2 mm at the location of the original 3.2.1 Materials
measurements. The water temperature and the evaporation and 3.2.1.1 WaterUse potable water unless otherwise
precipitation measurements shall be recorded. specified.
6 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

3.3Execution than the diameter of the vent it replaces nor more than six
3.3.1 Test preparation times the vent diameter. The top of the standpipe shall be
3.3.1.1 The exposed concrete surfaces of the containment located to limit the hydraulic surcharge to 1.25 times the design
structure, including the floor, shall be cleaned of all foreign surcharge at the high point of the underside of the roof. The
material and debris. Standing water in or outside of the standpipe shall be slowly filled to the point of overflow.
containment structure that would interfere with the inspection 3.3.2 Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 1: Qual-
of the exposed concrete surfaces of the containment structure itative criteria
shall be removed. The concrete surfaces and concrete joints 3.3.2.1 The exterior containment structure examinations
shall be visually reviewed by the Contractor for potential shall be in accordance with the requirements of Part 1 of the
leakage points. Areas the Contractor believes are areas of hydrostatic test as described in 2.3.2.
potential leakage shall be repaired before filling the 3.3.2.2 There is no numerical value for the allowable
containment structure with water. Unless otherwise specified, loss of water during Part 1 of the surcharged hydrostatic test.
coatings shall not be applied until after tightness testing has No flow or seepage of water from the containment structure,
been completed. however, shall be present on the exterior surfaces after the
3.3.1.2 All openings, fittings, and pipe penetrations in containment structure is filled to the test level, as described
the containment structure shall be visually examined at both further in 2.3.2.
faces, if practical.
3.3.3 Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 2:
3.3.1.3 Liners that are mechanically locked to the
Quantitative criteria
surface during the placement of the concrete shall be installed
3.3.3.1 The duration of the test shall be 1 hour. The water
before the inspections. Interior liners shall be visually
temperature 3 m below the bottom of the standpipe shall be
examined for pinholes, tears, and partially fused splices by
taken at the start and end of each test.
the Contractor, and integrity testing of interior liners, when
required by the Contract Documents, shall be performed and 3.3.3.2 The water level in the standpipe shall be maintained
passed prior to hydrostatic testing. Deficiencies shall be for 1 hour. If the water level starts to drop below the top-most
repaired. point of the standpipe, the standpipe shall be refilled.
3.3.1.4 All containment structure penetrations and Makeup water of a monitored volume shall be added during
inlet/outlets shall be securely sealed to prevent the loss of the test to keep the water level near the top of the standpipe.
water from the containment structure during the test. If the If the amount of makeup water required is higher than the
containment structure is to be filled using the containment allowable, and is suspected to be due to water temperature
structure inlet/outlet pipe, positive means shall be provided change, the containment structure shall be retested after the
to verify that water is not entering or leaving the containment water temperature stabilizes.
structure through this pipe once the containment structure is 3.3.3.3 Once the amount of makeup water has remained
filled to test level. within the allowable range in the standpipe for the test period
3.3.1.5 Containment structure penetrations and pipe, of 1 hour, the water level shall be kept in the standpipe until
channel, and conduit inlet/outlets shall be monitored before another close visual examination of all visible containment
and during the test to verify the watertightness of these structure joints and around hatches, manways, nozzles, pipe
appurtenances. Seepage at these locations shall be repaired connections, and other openings and penetrations has been
before test measurements. No allowance shall be made in performed.
test measurements for uncorrected known points of seepage. 3.3.3.4 The water level shall then be lowered below the
The flow from any underdrain system, if a system is inlets to the pressure relief valves, and the plugs shall be
provided, shall be monitored during this same period, and removed from the relief valves. The operation of the relief
any increase in flow shall be recorded and considered for valves shall then be checked by removing the standpipe, plug-
information as part of the tightness testing. ging the air vent, and injecting air into the top of the contain-
3.3.1.6 The ground water level shall be brought to a level ment structure until the pressure in the vapor space equals the
below the top of the base slab and kept at that elevation or at design pressure. If the relief valves do not start to release air at
a lower elevation during the test. the design pressure, they shall be adjusted or repaired.
3.3.1.7 After the containment structure examinations have 3.3.3.5 Upon completion of the test, the pressure in the
been completed, the pressure-relief valve or valves shall be containment structure shall be released and the containment
plugged and the top of the containment structure vented to structure emptied. A thorough visual examination shall be
the atmosphere. The containment structure shall be filled made of both the inside and outside of the containment
with water, at a rate not exceeding 1.2 m/hour, to the structure. For a combination metallic-and-concrete structure,
underside of the roof while allowing all air to freely escape. particular attention shall be paid to any internal metal ties,
The water level shall be kept near or at the top of unlined or braces, trusses, and their attachments to the walls of the
uncoated containment structures for a period of at least 3 days containment structure.
before the test. 3.3.4 Retesting
3.3.1.8 The containment structure vent at the roof high 3.3.4.1 A restart of the test shall be required when test
point shall be replaced with an open-ended pipe to form a measurements become unreliable due to a sudden change in
standpipe. The diameter of the standpipe shall not be less temperature or other external factors. If the water level in the
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 7

standpipe falls below the level of the roof, or overflows the pressure or the maximum specified pressure the tank can
standpipe during the test, the test shall be restarted. safely withstand, whichever is smaller for Part 1 of the
3.3.4.2 If the water level fails to remain within the pneumatic tightness test.
allowable range in the standpipe, or the amount of makeup 4.3.2 Pneumatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative criteria
water exceeds the allowable rate, in the initial test or up to 4.3.2.1 Soap suds shall be applied to the exterior of the
two retests, the containment structure shall be observed for containment structure. Joints and repaired concrete cracks
seepage on the exterior surface and then drained and shall be tested with a vacuum box.
reviewed for defects that are suspected water loss locations
4.3.2.2 The test pressure shall be held until an examination
in the interior surfaces. All defects or points of suspected
of all visible joints in the containment structure and around
seepage shall be repaired and the test repeated.
manways, nozzles, and other openings and penetrations has
3.3.4.3 Containment structures shall be retested until
been performed. During such examinations, soap suds shall
they meet the required criterion. Repairs shall be made to the
be applied to the surfaces, and vacuum boxes shall be used
probable leakage areas before each retest.
where applicable.
SECTION 4PNEUMATIC TIGHTNESS TEST FOR 4.3.2.3 If any leaks appear, the defects shall be repaired,
CLOSED CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES and the test repeated. Part 1 of the pneumatic test is complete
4.1General when no leaks are found.
4.1.1 ScopeThis section covers the standard pneumatic 4.3.2.4 All soap solutions shall be thoroughly flushed
tightness test for closed containment structures and shall be and rinsed from the concrete and metal surfaces after use.
expressed as the maximum allowable percent loss per day of
4.3.3 Pneumatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative criteria
the test air volume. There shall be two parts to the pneumatic
test for closed containment structures. Part 1 shall detect air 4.3.3.1 Air shall be slowly injected into, or released
losses from visible surfaces. Part 2 (Section 4.3.3) is from, the containment structure until the internal pressure
expressed as the maximum allowable percent loss per day of reaches the test pressure.
the test air volume. 4.3.3.2 After the test pressure is achieved, the inlet shall
4.1.1.1 Pneumatic tightness testing shall be confined to be closed and the containment structure kept pressurized for
containment structures that have been designed and at least 2 hours. The barometric pressure and pressurized air
constructed to be tested with pneumatic pressure. The temperature at the start and end of the test period shall be
pneumatic testing of containment structures shall occur after recorded. The gauge pressure drop and elapsed time between
any lining or interior waterproofing membrane is in place. the start and conclusion of the test shall be measured, and
Unless otherwise specified, coatings shall not be applied variations in the barometric pressure and temperature
until after the pneumatic tightness testing has been changes of the test air shall be corrected for the purpose of
completed. Pneumatic tests shall be limited to test pressures calculating the volume change over a 24-hour period.
within the specified pressure range. 4.3.3.3 If the containment structure does not meet the
4.1.1.2 Containment structures shall be tested for test criterion, the pressure shall be released slowly, and the
pneumatic tightness when required by Contract Documents. plugs shall be removed from the relief valves. The operation
When a pneumatic tightness test is required and a specific of the relief valves shall then be verified in accordance with
criterion is not stated, the quantitative criteria shall be no the manufacturers specifications. If the relief valves do not
measurable loss for containment structures that are enclosed start to release air, they shall be adjusted or repaired. The
or partially enclosed in a building, and 2.0% per day for containment structure shall be retested after repair of any
containment structures that are surrounded by outside air. No known defect.
measurable loss shall mean less than 0.5% loss of test air 4.3.3.4 Upon completion of the test, the pressure in the
volume per day after correction for any changes in barometric containment structure shall be released and a thorough
pressure and test air temperature. review made of both the inside and outside of the containment
structure. On combination metal containment structures,
4.2Products particular attention shall be given to all internal metal ties,
4.2.1 Materials
braces, trusses, and their attachments to the walls of the
4.2.1.1 AirUse oil-free air unless otherwise specified.
containment structure.
4.3Execution 4.3.4 Retesting
4.3.1 Test preparation 4.3.4.1 It shall be permitted to immediately retest a
4.3.1.1 The test preparations shall be in accordance with containment structure that does not meet the acceptance
the requirements of 2.3.1. criterion when no obvious sources of pressure loss are
4.3.1.2 After the containment structure has been known. If the containment structure still does not meet the
reviewed for potential sources of air loss, a calibrated pressure acceptance criterion on the second test or if not immediately
gauge or manometer shall be connected to the containment retested after the first test, the containment structure shall be
structure, and the pressure-relief valve or valves and vents reviewed to determine probable areas of air loss by the
shall be plugged. The containment structure shall then be Contractor. The containment structure shall only be retested
slowly filled with air to a pressure of 1.25 times the design after the probable areas of air loss are repaired or isolated.
8 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

4.3.4.2 Containment structures shall be retested until 5.3.1.1.4 Unless otherwise specified, coatings shall not
they meet the required criterion. Repairs shall be made to the be applied until after Part 1 of the tightness testing has been
probable areas of air loss before each retest. completed.
5.3.1.1.5 After all the joints have been examined and
SECTION 5COMBINATION HYDROSTATIC- all defective joints disclosed by such examinations have
PNEUMATIC TIGHTNESS TEST FOR CLOSED been repaired, the containment structure shall be filled with
CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES water to the design water level. The top of the containment
5.1General
5.1.1 ScopeThis section covers the combination structure shall be vented to the atmosphere during the filling
hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness test and shall be conducted of the containment structure to prevent pressurization by
in two combined parts. Part 1, the qualitative criteria, is based trapped air. The rate at which water is introduced into a
on Part 1 of the hydrostatic tightness test criterion (Section containment structure shall not exceed 1.2 m/hour.
2.3.2) and Part 1 of the pneumatic tightness test criterion 5.3.1.1.6 The water in unlined or uncoated containment
(Section 4.3.2). Part 2, the quantitative criteria, shall be based structures shall remain at the design water level for at least
on Part 2 of the hydrostatic tightness test (Section 2.3.3), 3 days. Pressure shall not be applied above the surface of the
expressed as the maximum allowable percent volume loss of water before the temperature of the containment structure
the test water per day, and Part 2 of the pneumatic tightness and its contents are within 3C of each other. Parts 1 and 2 of the
test (Section 4.3.3), which shall be expressed as the maximum hydrostatic test of Section 2 may be performed during
allowable percent loss per day of the test air volume. this time.
5.1.1.1 Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness 5.3.1.2 Pneumatic tightness test preparation
tests shall be limited to pneumatic test pressures within the 5.3.1.2.1 The preparations for the pneumatic test shall
pressure range specified. be in accordance with 4.3.1. All water used in the hydrostatic
5.1.1.2 Containment structures shall be tested for tightness test shall be removed from the containment structure before
when required by Contract Documents. the pneumatic testing.
5.1.1.3 When a combination hydrostatic-pneumatic 5.3.2 Hydrostatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
tightness test is required and the specific criteria are not retesting
stated, the quantitative criteria shall be based on Sections 2 5.3.2.1 The containment structure exterior shall be
and 4. observed in accordance with the requirements of Part 1 of the
5.1.2 Submittals standard hydrostatic test as described in 2.3.2. All defects
5.1.2.1 Submit results of the tightness testing in accordance allowing water seepage shall be repaired, and the containment
with 1.4.3. structure shall be rechecked for liquid tightness.
5.3.2.2 For Part 2 of the hydrostatic test, measurements
5.2Products as described in 2.3.3 shall also be made before testing the
5.2.1 Materials containment structure for gas tightness. The allowable loss
5.2.1.1 WaterUse potable water unless otherwise criteria, unless otherwise specified, shall be in accordance
specified. with 2.1.1.2.
5.2.1.2 AirUse oil-free air unless otherwise specified. 5.3.2.3 Containment structures shall be retested until
they meet the required Part 1 and Part 2 criteria of the standard
5.3Execution hydrostatic test. Repairs shall be made before each retest.
5.3.1 Test preparation 5.3.3 Pneumatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
5.3.1.1 Hydrostatic tightness test preparation retesting
5.3.1.1.1 The exposed concrete surfaces of the 5.3.3.1 Part 1 of the pneumatic test shall be in accordance
containment structure, including the floor, shall be cleaned with 4.3.2.
of all foreign material and debris. Standing water in or 5.3.3.2 Part 2 of the pneumatic test shall be in accordance
outside of the containment structures that would interfere with 4.3.3.
with the examination of the exposed concrete surfaces of the 5.3.3.3 Pneumatic retesting
containment structure shall be removed. The concrete 5.3.3.3.1 A restart of the pneumatic portion of the test
surfaces and concrete joints shall be visually examined by shall be required when test measurements become unreliable
the Contractor for potential leakage points. Areas the due to a rapid change of barometric pressure or other
Contractor believes are areas of potential leakage shall be external factors.
repaired before filling the containment structure with water. 5.3.3.3.2 It shall be permitted to immediately retest a
5.3.1.1.2 All openings, fittings, and pipe penetrations containment structure that does not meet the acceptance
in the containment structure shell shall be reviewed at both criterion when no obvious sources of pressure loss are
faces, if practical. known. If the containment structure still does not meet the
5.3.1.1.3 Liners that are mechanically locked to the acceptance criterion on the second test or if not immediately
surface during the placement of the concrete shall be retested after the first test, the containment structure shall be
installed before the hydrostatic tightness testing. Interior reviewed to determine probable areas of air loss by the
liners, when present, shall be observed for pinholes, tears, Contractor. The containment structure shall only be retested
and partially fused splices. Deficiencies shall be repaired. after the probable areas of air loss are repaired or isolated.
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 9

(nonmandatory portion follows) identify activities or options that will be taken or may be
taken by the Owner or Architect/Engineer.
NOTES TO SPECIFIER
General notes Foreword to Checklists
G1. ACI Specification 350.1M is to be used by reference F1. This foreword is included for explanatory purposes
or incorporation in its entirety in the Project Specification. only; it is not a part of ACI Specification 350.1M.
Do not copy individual Sections, Parts, Articles, or Paragraphs F2. ACI Specification 350.1M may be referenced by the
Specifier in the Project Specification for any environmental
into the Project Specification, because taking them out of
containment structure project, together with supplementary
context may change their meaning.
requirements for the specific project. Responsibilities for project
G2. If Sections or Parts of ACI Specification 350.1M are participants must be defined in the Project Specification. ACI
copied into the Project Specification or any other document, Specification 350.1M cannot and does not address responsibilities
do not refer to them as an ACI Specification, because the for any project participant other than the Contractor.
specification has been altered. F3. Checklists do not form a part of ACI Specification
G3. A statement such as the following will serve to make 350.1M. Checklists assist the Specifier in selecting and specifying
ACI Specification 350.1M a part of the Project Specification: project requirements in the Project Specification.
Work on (Project Title) shall conform to all requirements F4. The Mandatory Requirements Checklist indicates
of ACI 350.1-10 published by the American Concrete Insti- work requirements regarding specific qualities, procedures,
tute, Farmington Hills, Michigan, except as modified by materials, and performance criteria that are not defined in
these Contract Documents. ACI Specification 350.1M. The Specifier must include these
G4. Each technical Section of ACI Specification 350.1M requirements in the Project Specification.
is written in the three-part section format of the Construction F5. The Optional Requirements Checklist identifies
Specifications Institute, as adapted for ACI requirements. Specifier choices and alternatives. The checklist identifies
The language is imperative and terse. the Sections, Parts, and Articles of the ACI Specification
350.1M and the action required or available to the Specifier.
G5. ACI Specification 350.1M is written to the Contractor.
The Specifier should review each of the items in the Checklist
When a provision of this specification requires action by the and make adjustments to the needs of a particular project by
Contractor, the verb shall is used. If the Contractor is allowed including those selected alternatives as mandatory requirements
to exercise an option when limited alternatives are available, in the Project Specification.
the phrasing either...or... is used. Statements provided in F6. The Submittals Checklist identifies information or
the specification as information to the Contractor use the data to be provided by the Contractor before, during, or after
verbs may or will. Informational statements typically construction.

MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS CHECKLIST

Section/Part/Article Notes to Specifier


General requirements
1.5.1 Specify source of, and responsibility for handling, contents used for tightness testing.
Hydrostatic tightness test for open or covered containment structures
2.1.1.2 Specify in Contract Documents which containment structures are to be tested for hydrostatic tightness.
Surcharged hydrostatic tightness test for closed containment structures
3.1.1.1 Specify the test pressure range for the surcharged hydrostatic tightness test.
3.1.1.2 Specify in Contract Documents which containment structures are to be surcharged hydrostatic tightness tested.
Pneumatic tightness test for closed containment structures
4.1.1.1 Specify the test pressure range for the pneumatic tightness test.
4.1.1.2 Specify in Contract Documents which containment structures are to be pneumatic tightness tested.
Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness test for closed containment structures
5.1.1.1 Specify the pressure range for the pneumatic test.
5.1.1.2 Specify in Contract Documents which containment structures are to be tightness tested.
10 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

OPTIONAL REQUIREMENTS CHECKLIST

Section/Part/Article Notes to Specifier


General requirements
1.1.1.2 Specify when preparatory items may be waived.
1.1.1.3 Specify if multi-cell containment structures are to be tested other than individually.
1.3.2 Specify or indicate on Contract Documents when a structure, or portions of a structure, may be tested prior to the
structure being complete and prior to all concrete obtaining its specified compressive strength, provided that the
structure was designed for these conditions. Indicate the maximum water surface elevation permitted for the testing.
1.5.1 Specify if other measurement and observation procedures are required.
Hydrostatic tightness test for open or covered containment structures
2.1.1.2 Specify when quantitative criteria need to be other than default requirements.
2.2.1.1 Specify when water source other than potable water will be permitted.
2.3.1.1 Specify if the coating should be or may be applied before testing is conducted.
2.3.1.3 Specify if integrity testing of interior liners is required prior to hydrostatic testing.
2.3.1.7 Specify when backfill may be placed before tightness testing.
2.3.3.4 Specify if additional temperature measurements are required.
2.3.4.2 Specify what retesting procedures will be permitted.
Surcharged hydrostatic tightness test for closed containment structures
3.1.1.2 Specify when quantitative criteria need to be other than default requirements.
3.2.1.1 Specify when water source other than potable water will be permitted.
3.3.1.1 Specify when coatings may be applied before testing is conducted.
3.3.1.5 Submit information on changes in flow in any underdrain system after filling the containment structure.
Pneumatic tightness test for closed containment structures
4.1.1.2 Specify when quantitative criteria need to be other than default requirements.
4.2.1.1 Specify when air source other than the default requirement will be permitted.
Combination hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness test for closed containment structures
5.2.1.1 Specify when water source other than potable water will be permitted.
5.2.1.2 Specify when air source other than the default requirement will be permitted.
5.3.1.1.4 Specify when coatings may be applied before Part 1 of the testing is conducted.
5.3.2.2 Specify when qualification criteria need to be more stringent than default requirements.

SUBMITTALS CHECKLIST

Section/Part/Article Notes to Specifier


General requirements
1.4.2 Proposed repair methods, materials, and modifications to the Work.
Hydrostatic tightness testing for open or covered containment structures
3.3.1.5 Submit information on changes in flow in any underdrain system after filling the containment structure.
5.1.2.1 Submit test results.
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 11

COMMENTARY testing methods, procedures, and criteria. Some of these


R1.1Scope standards, however, may be partially applicable. Tightness
The American Concrete Institute Committee 350 recognized testing of various precast products is covered in ASTM
the need for standardized procedures of testing of environ- C1244.
mental containment structures constructed of reinforced
concrete or reinforced concrete and other materials for liquid R1.3Description
tightness. A joint committee of ACI 350 and American R1.3.1 When using the stated procedures and criteria for
Water Works Association Committee 400, Waterproofing, an existing containment structure, it should not be assumed
prepared ACI 350.1R/AWWA 400 (ACI Committee 350 that the containment structure was designed for the test pressure
1993) on recommendations for watertightness of reinforced or for the specific type of test. A containment structure
concrete containment structures. These test methods are an designed for a triangular hydrostatic pressure may not be
evolution of that report. able to withstand a uniform pneumatic pressure with the
The pneumatic tests in this document are based on same maximum intensity.
ANSI/API 620 (American Petroleum Institute 1992) for R1.3.2 Typically a structure is designed for hydrostatic
large, welded, low-pressure storage containment structures. loading on the final, completed structure. Testing an incomplete
Under most circumstances, only one type of test would be structure may cause damage and present safety concerns.
used for a containment structure. The type of test selected Testing an incomplete structure should occur only if
should best represent the design loading condition of the permitted by the Architect/Engineer. Also, pressure testing
containment structure. If the containment structure is of a partially completed containment structure may not be a
designed for several different types of loading conditions, true test of tightness of the containment structure. Shrinkage
tests should be selected to represent each of the types. cracks may continue to propagate during the construction
R1.1.1.2 Tightness testing of concrete containment period after the test. The fastening of walkways, exterior
structures for the containment of liquids and low-pressure stairways, roof beams, or other structural elements above or
gases may be necessary to verify that the structure can fulfill outside of the containment structures liquid containment
its intended purpose. Containment structures for environ- shell, after the tightness test, may provide additional shell
mental facilities often include structures designed with a restraint and result in the formation of concrete cracks.
combination of concrete and other materials. These include
concrete digesters with floating steel covers; containment SECTION R2HYDROSTATIC TIGHTNESS TEST
structures with aluminum dome roofs; basins with metal, FOR OPEN OR COVERED
wood or plastic covers; process basins with steel walls and CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES
concrete floors; and similar structures. The combination of R2.1General
materials in the containment structure construction should R2.1.1 Both Parts 1 and 2 of the hydrostatic tightness test
not preclude performing the tightness testing of the contain- are equally important. Part 1 deals with the visible portion of
ment structure or the tightness testing of the joints between the containment structure, particularly the walls and wall
the different materials. base joint. Part 2 primarily deals with the floor, where water
R1.1.1.3 Multi-cell containment structures for water and loss is not normally visible.
wastewater facilities are not always designed for watertight- R2.1.1.2 Because Part 1 of the test requires that virtually
ness between adjacent cells. During maintenance, it is some- no water is lost through the walls and wall-base joints of
times considered acceptable for these containment structures containment structures, the tightness criteria of containment
to have some seepage into an empty cell from an adjacent structures is mainly controlled by the floor details. Different
full cell. It is not practical to establish a water loss criterion materials, methods of construction, and design concepts may
for testing cells where seepage is acceptable. Therefore, result in different containment structure tightness. A mono-
these multi-cell containment structures should be tested as a lithically placed, prestressed concrete, containment structure
unit. The design of multi-cell containment structures should floor with the concrete always in compression may have a
be reviewed to determine that they are multi-cell containment different tightness than a monolithically placed nonprestressed
structures rather than a single containment structure with concrete containment structure floor with the concrete
nonstructural baffle walls. partially in tension. A monolithically placed floor using
R1.1.1.4 Tightness testing of liquid transmission structures shrinkage-compensating concrete should be more watertight
requires the use of major, very tight, temporary bulkheads than the same containment structure floor with construction
a feature typically designed and provided by the Contractor. joints. This is due to the difficulty of placing honeycomb-
R1.1.1.5 Concrete paving is placed, finished, and jointed free concrete on the undersides of PVC waterstops. A lined
in a different manner than cast-in-place concrete containment containment structure will have a different tightness than an
structures. The differences in design, details, and construc- unlined containment structure. Based on reasonable tightness
tion affect the tightness of the structure, and some test proce- of different types of containment structure construction, three
dures may not be applicable. standard criteria were established. The selected criterion
R1.1.2 Work not specifiedConcrete structures for the should consider the containment structure design, construc-
primary or secondary containment of hazardous materials, tion, and the tightness necessary for the stored contents.
cryogenic fluids, or high-pressure gases require specialized Floors designed to be shrinkage-crack-free include floors
12 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

designed to remain in compression and properly designed against the walls and on the wall footing before testing,
floors that use shrinkage-compensating concrete. unless otherwise specified. When backfilling is unavoidable
R2.3.1 Test preparation prior to testing all or part of the structure, so indicate in the
R2.3.1.1 The requirement to clean the containment Contract Documents. In this case, Part 1 of the testing is not
structure surfaces is to allow cracks and defects to be applicable for backfilled portions of the containment structure.
observed and not obscured by mud, material spills, or stains. If a structure was not designed to be test loaded without
Sprayed water may be necessary to wash foreign material backfill in place, Part 1 of the test may not be possible.
from the concrete surfaces. Mud, soil, or other foreign material R2.3.1.8 The water should be far enough below the over-
on the containment structure floor may not only obscure the flow level to prevent the overflow from skimming off water
floor condition, but may temporarily fill defects, voids, or from wind-generated waves, from slight differential settlement,
cracks, thus giving test results that may not reflect the true or both.
condition of the containment structure. It is preferred that R2.3.1.9 Because the rate of water absorption or evapo-
coatings not be applied until after testing is complete. ration from concrete is very slow, a slight drop in water level
R2.3.1.2 Fittings and pipe penetrations have the potential due to swelling of the diameter may occur during Part 2 of
for allowing water to flow along the contact surface between the hydrostatic test. The 3-day waiting period for the usual
the fitting or pipe and the concrete. Metal fittings and pipes, tightness tests is normally considered sufficient allowance
unlike concrete, do not change in volume during wetting or for moisture absorption by the concrete and temperature
drying. Metal pipes and fittings may resist the volume stabilization of the test water for most practical test criteria.
change of the concrete, and result in the formation of A longer waiting period, however, may be desired for the
concrete cracks. It is usually impractical to observe the more stringent test criteria. A waiting period may not be
bottom of pipe penetrations passing through the base slab. required for lined or coated containment structures, as the
R2.3.1.3 Liners are generally used to obtain a very tight barrier should prevent water from reaching the concrete.
structure. Therefore, the basic structure should also be
R2.3.2 Hydrostatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative
reasonably tight to serve as a barrier to the stored material if
criteria
pinholes occur in the liner. Generally, the same review and
observation procedures are required for the concrete that is R2.3.2.1 Moisture-darkened areas on wall external
to be covered by a liner as for concrete that will be exposed. surfaces with flow insufficient to cause moisture to be able
However, concrete surfaces to which liners are mechanically to be picked up on a dry hand will usually not detrimentally
locked during the placement of concrete cannot be visually affect the structure, and are generally considered acceptable.
observed. Different liner materials require different liner Observed flow or seepage should be repaired before
tests and different methods of repair. It is beyond the scope beginning Part 2 of the test. The quantified maximum water
of this document to go into the details of testing liner material loss included in this document is for unexplained losses; it is
and, therefore, the user is advised to contact the liner not a criterion for acceptance of known sources of lost water.
manufacturer for recommended repair procedures. R2.3.3 Hydrostatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative
R2.3.1.4 Leaking or partially seated valves and gates are criteria
a source of water loss from containment structures. A R2.3.3.1 It is preferable to minimize temperature change
containment structure inlet pipe, if connected to a water of the water during the test. This would minimize computed
source, may be difficult to check for leakage. One possible temperature corrections of measurements. Temperature
method of checking for leakage is to install a sampling cock stratifications can occur in the contained water and affect the
in the pipe invert between two valves in series. test results.
R2.3.1.5 An increase in flow from an underdrain system R2.3.3.2 Measurements taken at two locations, 180 degrees
may indicate water lost through the containment structure apart, will usually minimize the effect of differential settlement
floor. It may, however, also be due to rain or some other on the computed values for small- and medium-size contain-
external source of water. The conditions at each event should ment structures. Measurements at four points, 90 degrees apart,
be evaluated to estimate the most probable cause of the will give more accurate results. Measurements taken at the
increased flow. same time of day will reduce the probability of temperature
R2.3.1.6 Ground water can cause a back pressure on the difference.
walls and floor of containment structures and reduce the
R2.3.3.3 Part 2 of the hydrostatic test should be of
outflow of the test water through defects. The presence of
sufficient duration to be certain of the results. An example of
ground water may indicate a greater watertightness of the
the method of calculating the duration of the test is as
containment structure than is actually present.
follows. A flat-bottom concrete containment structure,
R2.3.1.7 Backfill against the wall or on top of the wall
required to pass a tightness test, has a 6 m water depth. The
footing would interfere with Part 1 of the hydrostatic test.
acceptance criterion is a maximum of 0.05% loss of water
The containment structure should have the maximum
volume in 24 hours. The required duration of the test would be
amount of the exterior surface visible during the test. New
partially buried or buried containment structures should be
designed for loading without reliance on the backfill to resist 10 mm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- = 3.33 days
the interior pressures, and should not have the backfill placed 0.0005 mm/mm/day 6 m 1000 mm/m
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 13

Measurements are taken at 24-hour intervals; therefore, the with the visible portion of the containment structure, the
test duration should be at least 4 days. walls, and wall base joint, in particular. Part 2 primarily deals
R2.3.3.4 If the specified tightness criterion for the tank with the floor, which is not normally visible.
is no measurable loss, the water temperature should be recorded R3.1.1.1 A surcharged hydrostatic tightness test should
at 1.5 m intervals of depth for volume change corrections. be used only on containment structures that have been
R2.3.3.5 A floating, restrained, partially filled, calibrated, structurally analyzed for the test surcharge loading that will
open container for evaporation and precipitation measurement be applied. The test should only be performed on containment
should be positioned in open containment structures, and the structures with the intended use of storing water or other
water level in the container recorded. Determination of fluids under a surcharged pressure. Composite containment
evaporation by a shallow pan-type measuring device is structures of concrete and steel should be periodically tested
discouraged. The heating of the bottom of a shallow pan can as the loss of corrosion allowance metal may reduce the
cause accelerated evaporation of water compared with that strength and tightness of the containment structure.
taking place from a deep containment structure. R3.1.1.2 Different materials, methods of construction,
R2.3.3.6 Observed flow or seepage of water from the and design concepts may result in different containment
exterior surface, including that from cracks and joints, structure tightness. Based on reasonable tightness of
should be considered as a failure of Part 1 of the testing. different types of containment structure construction, three
Because flow and evaporation rates can vary with the angle standard criteria have been established. The selected criterion
of the sun, it is recommended that the wall surfaces be should consider the containment structure design, construction,
checked at different times of the day. The limits of flowing and the tightness necessary for the stored contents. Refer to
water on the footing or wet spots on the walls, observed R2.1.1.2 for more discussion of this topic.
during daily observations, should be marked for later repair. R3.3.1 Test preparation
R2.3.3.7 Measurements taken at the same location will R.3.3.1.1 through R.3.3.1.6. See R.2.3.1.1 through
reduce the probability of measurement differences. R2.3.1.6.
R2.3.3.8 When numerical limits are given for the allowable R3.3.1.7 The requirement for the free escape of air while
loss of water during the tightness test, they are for the filling the containment structure is to prevent the water from
undetected loss of water from the containment structure. being pressurized by trapped air. The foundation, venting
Therefore, test values should be corrected for temperature equipment, or other conditions may limit the water filling to
change, evaporation, and precipitation, if present. a lower rate. The containment structure contents should not
Temperature corrections to the water volume should be be surcharged until the test water temperature has stabilized.
based on the change in water density, but may also include It is preferred that the test water temperature be 16C or
the effect of the thermal change to the structure dimensions. above. The 3-day waiting period for the test is normally
Structure dimension changes may be slightly larger for considered sufficient allowance for moisture absorption by
circular containment structures that have a sliding joint at the the concrete and temperature stabilization of the test water
base of the perimeter wall. for most practical test criteria. The waiting period can be
R2.3.4 Retesting extended for unlined or uncoated containment structures, or
for the more stringent test criteria, if desired, to obtain
R2.3.4.1 Unusual precipitation would be when the
additional moisture absorption. A waiting period is not required
amount of precipitation would exceed the capacity of the
for moisture absorption of lined containment structures, as the
precipitation gauge, or would plug the precipitation gauge
liner should prevent water from reaching the concrete.
with snow, or would cause water to spill over the containment
structure overflow. R3.3.1.8 The standpipe protects the containment structure
from unanticipated pressure. If there is not a free water
R2.3.4.2 The immediate retest is allowed for confirmation
surface at the standpipe, rapid pressure changes can occur
of the first test results. This should minimize the cost of
due to a water temperature change, or a vacuum can occur
review time and wasted water due to measurement errors or
due to water leakage.
slower-than-normal water absorption by the concrete.
R3.3.2 Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 1:
Vacuum boxes can be used to locate seeping joints, cracks,
Qualitative criteriaRefer to R2.3.2.
and porous spots in the floor. Soap suds are applied to the
R3.3.3 Surcharged hydrostatic tightness testPart 2:
suspect area, and the area is covered with a vacuum box. A
Quantitative criteria
vacuum of at least 0.2 bar is created within the box. Air leakage
R3.3.3.1 It is not expected that there will be a significant
through or at the suspect area will result in the formation of soap
change in water temperature during the 1-hour test period.
bubbles. All soap solutions should be thoroughly flushed and
The temperature readings are taken primarily to verify that
rinsed from the concrete and metal surfaces after use.
the temperature has not affected the test results. The depth of
the measurement is selected to be well within the mass of the
SECTION R3SURCHARGED HYDROSTATIC
TIGHTNESS TEST FOR CLOSED CONTAINMENT test water, and away from the point of insertion of the
STRUCTURES makeup water, which may be a different temperature.
R3.1General R3.3.3.2 An example of a makeup water rate for a 0.05%
R3.1.1 ScopeBoth Parts 1 and 2 of the surcharged loss of the volume of water from a 30 m diameter, 6 m high
hydrostatic tightness test are equally important. Part 1 deals containment structure with a flat floor and 2% (upward)
14 TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10)

sloping conical roof would result in an allowable makeup containment structure construction, two standard criteria
volume rate of 94.3 L per hour. were established. The selected criterion should consider the
containment structure design, construction, and the tightness
89.8 Lph = {(15 m)2 [6 m + 1/3(0.02 15 m)] 1000 L/m3 necessary for the stored contents. Refer to R2.1.1.2 for more
0.0005}/24 h per day discussion of this topic.
R4.3.1 Test preparation
R3.3.3.3 The potential for leakage is greater at joints, R4.3.1.1 Refer to R2.3.1.
fittings, and accessories. R4.3.1.2 A test pressure 25% higher than the design
R3.3.3.4 The operability of the relief valves should be pressure is used for Part 1 of the test to better identify potential
checked to see that the containment structure will be protected problem areas. Refer to R4.1.1.1.
when the containment structure is placed in operation. R4.3.2 Pneumatic tightness testPart 1: Qualitative
R3.3.3.5 The final visual observation review is required to criteria
verify that no damage has occurred to the containment R4.3.2.1 The stringent criterion for this test requires
structure from the test loading. additional checking for potential leaks. Vacuum boxes are
R3.3.4 Retesting used to locate leaking joints, cracks, and porous spots. Soap
suds are applied to the suspect area, and the area is covered
R3.3.4.1 It is recognized that for the more stringent
with a vacuum box. A vacuum of at least 0.2 bar is created
criteria, the test is very temperature sensitive. Other criteria
within the box. Air leakage through or at the suspect area
may be set by the Architect/Engineer if needed for the stored
results in the formation of soap bubbles.
liquid. The test should be sufficient for most containment
structures constructed for the storage of liquids under R4.3.2.3 The potential for air loss is greatest at joints,
surcharged pressure; if, however, in the opinion of the fittings, and accessories. The use of soap suds at these locations,
Architect/Engineer, additional tests are needed to investigate with the containment structure pressurized, should indicate if
the safety of a containment structure under certain other air loss occurs. Observed seepage of air should be repaired
conditions of loading as determined from the design before the start of Part 2 of the test. The quantified maximum
computations, such tests should also be made on the air loss included in this document is for unexplained losses;
containment structure in addition to this test. it is not a criterion for acceptance of known sources of lost air.
R4.3.3 Pneumatic tightness testPart 2: Quantitative
criteria
SECTION R4PNEUMATIC TIGHTNESS TEST
FOR CLOSED CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES R4.3.3.2 The criterion can be very stringent; therefore,
R4.1General the 2-hour time period may not be sufficient to accurately
R4.1.1 There are two parts to the pneumatic tightness test determine the tightness of the containment structure
for closed containment structures as well. Part 1 uses soap (because any errors in measurement are multiplied by 12).
suds and vacuum boxes to detect air losses. Part 2 measures Where greater accuracy is desired, the test time may be
the overall air loss, expressed as the maximum allowable extended to 1 or more days. The operability of the relief
percent loss per day of the test air volume. valves is checked to see that the containment structure will
R4.1.1.1 A pneumatic tightness test should only be used be protected when placed in operation.
to check the tightness of a containment structure when specified An example of the calculations for determining the
by an Architect/Engineer who has structurally analyzed the percent of air volume loss for a test would be:
containment structure considering the pressure test loading Initial readings:
that will be applied. The test should be performed on Pressure (P1) 0.01551 MPa
containment structures with the intended use of storing water Barometric pressure 0.1014 MPa
or gas or a combination of water and gas under pneumatic Temperature of test air (T1) 22.31C
pressure. The test is sometimes used as an alternate test for a Volume (V1)
hydrostatic test when allowed in the specifications. Liners Final readings:
that are mechanically locked to the surface during concrete Pressure (P2) 0.01531 MPa
placement should be installed before Part 1 of the test. Barometric pressure 0.1011 MPa
Liners, membranes, or coatings, when included in the Temperature of test air (T2) 21.61C
design, should be installed before Part 2 of the test when no Volume (V2)
measurable loss is specified, due to the stringent criteria of Test duration: 2 hours
the test. Absolute values:
R4.1.1.2 The 2% air loss criterion was selected due to Initial
the calculation of air loss being very sensitive to atmospheric P1 (pressure) 0.01551 + 0.1014 = 0.1169 MPa
pressure. The 2% is consistent with loss at unidentifiable T1 (temperature) 22.31 + 273.15 = 295.46 K
locations. Liners or coatings should be considered when a no Final
measurable loss tightness criterion is required. P2 (pressure) 0.01531 + 0.1011 = 0.1164 MPa
Different materials, methods of construction, and design T2 (temperature) 21.61 + 273.15 = 294.75 K
concepts may result in different containment structure
tightness. Based on reasonable tightness of different types of V2 = P1 V1 T2/P2 T1
TIGHTNESS TESTING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING CONCRETE CONTAINTMENT STRUCTURES (ACI 350.1-10) 15

V2 = 0.1169 V1 294.75/0.1164(295.46) R5.3.1.1.3 Liners and membranes, when included in


V2 = 1.001916 V1 the design, should be installed after the hydrostatic test
% loss of air volume = 1.001916(100) = 0.1916% in 2 h whenever possible. Liners, mechanically locked to the
% loss of air volume in 1 day = 0.1916(12) = 1.6% surface during concrete placement, may be installed before
R4.3.3.4 The final review is required to verify that no hydrostatic testing.
damage occurred to the containment structure from the test R5.3.1.1.4 It is better to check for seepage on the
loading. walls exterior and through any possible honeycombing or
R4.3.4 Retesting cracks before applying any coatings.
R4.3.4.1 The immediate retest is allowed for confirmation R5.3.1.1.5 The foundation, venting equipment, or
of the first test results. This should minimize the cost of other conditions may limit the water filling to a lower rate.
review time due to measurement errors or other factors. R5.3.1.1.6 The 3-day waiting period is considered
sufficient allowance for moisture absorption by the concrete.
SECTION R5COMBINATION HYDROSTATIC- The waiting period can be extended for unlined or uncoated
PNEUMATIC TIGHTNESS TEST FOR CLOSED
CONTAINMENT STRUCTURES containment structures, if desired.
R5.1General R5.3.2 Hydrostatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
R5.1.1 There are four parts to the combination hydrostatic- retesting
pneumatic tightness test for closed containment structures. The R5.3.2.1 The exterior qualitative test can indicate
first two parts include Parts 1 and 2 of the hydrostatic test defects in liners, membranes, and coatings.
(Section 2). The third and fourth parts include Parts 1 and 2 R5.3.3 Pneumatic tightness testingParts 1 and 2 and
of the pneumatic test for closed containment structures retesting
(Section 4).
R5.3.3.1 Refer to R4.3.2.
R5.1.1.1 A combination hydrostatic-pneumatic tightness
test should only be used to check the tightness of a containment R5.3.3.2 Refer to R4.3.3. Also, refer to R4.3.3.2 for an
structure when specified by an Architect/Engineer who has example calculation of volume loss.
structurally designed or analyzed the containment structure R5.3.3.3.1 A change in the air temperature of the
for the combination hydrostatic-pneumatic test loading that pressurized air could affect the results of the test. The
will be applied. The test should be performed on contain- immediate retest is allowed for confirmation of the first test
ment structures with the intended use of storing water or results. This should minimize the cost of review time due to
other liquids under air or gas pressure. measurement errors or other factors.
R5.1.1.3 Different materials, methods of construction,
and design concepts may result in different containment SECTION R6REFERENCES
structure tightness. The selected criterion should consider the ACI Committee 350, Testing Reinforced Concrete Struc-
containment structure design, construction, and the tightness tures for Watertightness (ACI 350.1R-93/AWWA 400-93),
necessary for the stored contents. The quantitative criteria American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 1993, 5 pp.
discussions for the types of containment structures discussed American Petroleum Institute, 1992, Design and
in Sections 2 and 4 will help the user select the appropriate Construction of Large, Welded, Low-Pressure Storage
quantitative criteria when the particular criteria is not Tanks (ANSI/API620), Washington, DC, 1992.
otherwise specified. ASTM C1244-05, Standard Test Method for Concrete
R5.3.1 Test preparation Sewer Manholes by Negative Air Pressure (Vacuum) Test
R5.3.1.1 Hydrostatic tightness test preparation Prior to Backfill, ASTM International, West Conshohocken,
R5.3.1.1.1 Refer to R2.3.1. PA, 2005, 4 pp.
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Specification for Tightness Testing of Environmental Engineering
Concrete Containment Structures (ACI 350.1M-10) and Commentary

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