ANSI/AWWA C600 "Installation of Ductile-Iron Water Mains and Their Appurtenances" requires that newly installed Ductile Iron water mains be hydrostatically tested at not less than 1.25 times the working pressure at the highest point along the test section and not less than 1.5 times the working pressure at the lowest point of testing.
After the air has been expelled and the valve or valves segregating the part of the system under test have been closed, pressure is then normally applied with a hand pump, gasoline-powered pump, or fire department pumping equipment for large lines. After the main has been brought up to test pressure, it is held at least two hours and the make-up water measured with a displacement meter or by pumping the water from a vessel of known volume. The make-up water is called the "testing allowance," and the allowable amount is a function of length of pipe tested, nominal diameter of the pipe, and the average test pressure. The hydrostatic pressure test helps to identify damaged or defective pipe, fittings, joints, valves, or hydrants, and also the security of the thrust restraint system.
The "testing allowance" is not a "leakage allowance." Properly installed Ductile Iron pipelines with properly assembled joints are bottle-tight and do not leak. The "testing allowance" is, however, a practical measure used to maintain the pressure, which might actually drop because of factors other than leakage, including trapped air, absorption of water by the cement lining, extension of restrained joints and other small pipe-soil movements, temperature variations during testing, etc.