LPG & NGL Storage Infrastructure

Are your propane storage tanks in compliance?

Written by Greg Ezzell | Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 10:26 PM

Another month behind us, another month closer to July 2011.  What's the big deal?  If you have a large inventory of propane storage tanks in service and you rely on propane as one of your primary utilities,  I'll tell you what the big deal is with getting closer to July 2011.

NFPA 58 requires all propane storage tanks with greater than 4,000 gallons of storage capacity to have their opening valves upgraded to thermally actuated valves with remote shutdown capability prior to July 2011. 

The primary purpose of this new standard is to make high volume propane storage facilities safer.

Thermally actuated valves will provide the following:

  • Automatic shut-down of system in case of fire or damage to piping.
  • Limiting vapor release in case of ruptured piping, thus creating a safer environment for the community.
  • Single point emergency tank shut-down eliminating the need for manually closing valves.

Back to the big deal.  As we call on larger commercial customers and government agencies with large fleets of propane storage tanks (bulk plants) we are amazed at the high numbers that are not even aware of the 2011 compliance deadline.  We often assume the role of educator and begin to preach the importance of acting now versus waiting to the last minute.  Why act now?

Budgets, planning, season consumption demands, and many other obstacles tend to eat away at our time and ability to schedule work.  If you have 50 propane storage tanks in service requiring 2011 upgrades and you start the work by doing 2 tanks per month, you will not finish the upgrades on all tanks until July 2011.  I guess this is the big deal.

There are literally thousands of propane storage tanks that are not in compliance yet in the U.S..  As we get closer to 2011 the availability of qualified crews to complete this work could become harder to find, not to mention adequate inventory of valves for those tanks requiring the retrofits. 

We recommend you get started on a 2011 strategy today.  Get started by educating yourself on the NFPA 58 compliance requirements.  Perform site inspections to determine if your bulk plants require upgrading or not.  Get a quote from a qualified LPG contractor and get on their schedule as soon as possible.  Make sure your business remains operational and in compliance.  Don't let this become a big deal for you.

For a step-by-step guide on how to determine if your tanks are compliant or not, click here to download TransTech Energy's NFPA 58 Compliance Guide.