New Rules and Regulations for Owners of Propane Tanks
A pressure relief valve is the single most important piece of safety equipment on a propane tank. Valves must be counted on to work without incident whenever required—there is no room for error when safety is on the line. It’s for this reason that the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) and NFPA 58 outline specific requirements for pressure relief valve testing or replacement intervals on containers with over 2,000-gallon water capacities on propane tanks. On this page, we present a quick guide to staying safe and compliant with NBIC and NFPA 58 requirements.
Understanding NBIC Relief Valve Testing Requirements
Pressure relief valves, safety valves, rupture discs, and related devices must be manufactured and certified in accordance with both AMSE and NBIC standards. This involves routine inspections to verify an appropriate device is installed on the tank as well as more detailed testing to confirm it is working properly or replaced according to state codes or NFPA 58 recommendations.
The NBIC and state “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) are responsible for establishing timelines for pressure relief valve testing and inspections and for revising them every two years. The next update is due in July 2017—companies that work with propane should take steps today to prepare themselves and their equipment. Here’s what we know so far about the new guidelines:
- NBIC and state AHJ pressure relief valves mandate requirements in ASME propane tanks with water capacities exceeding 2,000 gallons.
- Pressure relief valve testing will be required every five years.
- Valves over 10 years old must be tested or replaced before the next scheduled inspection.
- Replacement is an acceptable alternative to testing, based upon the discretion of the tank owner/operator.
A certified pressure relief valve testing contractor must perform all inspections. That’s where Foster Fuels comes in. Our inspectors can advise when testing is necessary and when a replacement would be a more cost-effective option. We also offer comprehensive preventative maintenance programs that can extend the life of your pressure relief valves and related safety equipment, saving you money over the long term with services such as:
- Boiler inspections, which will note and alert the owner to any relief valves over 10 years old at the next scheduled inspection.
- Reminding you valves over 10 years old must be tested or replaced prior to the following scheduled inspection, which is two years from the current inspection.
Pressure Relief Valve Testing Procedures and Standards in Virginia
Virginia has its own set of requirements for pressure relief valve testing and certification. These are primarily based on NFPA 58 and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. State requirements establish a propane pressure relief valve testing frequency of once every 10 years for most equipment. The state code also sets a compliance schedule of two years from the initial inspection date. For more information, contact Foster Fuels directly.
Staying Compliant with Relief Valve Testing Requirements
State and NBIC requirements present several challenges for businesses that rely on propane in their facilities. Organizations with multiple tanks may find the time and money required for pressure relief valve testing—including downtime and flaring of vapor, if necessary—to be overly burdensome. The limited time allotted to ensure all tanks are inspected and tested is an additional difficulty.
The best way to meet these demands is to start the testing and inspection processes early. Foster Fuels is available to perform certified inspections in Virginia. We’ll work with you to set up a schedule that meets your requirements for compliance, consult on best practices/recommendations for future compliance and safety, and save you money and time in the process. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started—contact our office today to arrange a consultation or request an on-site inspection of your propane tank pressure relief equipment.
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