Final Rule Allows Optical Gas Imaging for Detecting Equipment Leaks


Source: US EPA
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended) Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)

Numerous EPA air emissions standards require specific work practices for equipment leak detection and repair. On April 6, 2006, the EPA proposed a voluntary alternative work practice (AWP) for leak detection and repair using a newly developed technology, optical gas imaging. The alternative work practice is an alternative to the current leak detection and repair work practice, which is not being revised. The proposed alternative has been amended in this final rule to add a requirement to perform monitoring once per year using the current Method 21 leak detection instrument. This action revises the General Provisions to incorporate the final alternative work practice.

The proposed AWP allows owners or operators to identify leaking equipment using an optical gas imaging instrument instead of a leak monitor prescribed in 40 CFR part 60, Appendix A-7 i.e., a Method 21 instrument. The new work practice requirements are identical to the existing work practice requirements except for those requirements which are directly or indirectly associated with the instrument used to detect the leaks; for example, owners or operators are still subject to the existing ``difficult to monitor,'' ``unsafe to monitor,'' repair, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. If a leak is identified using the optical gas imaging instrument, then the leak must be re- screened after repair using the imaging instrument. For further details, visit the Federal Register website listed below.

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