New regs for fuel tanks
New regulations governing portable fuel tanks will be effective in January, and have some in the industry scrambling to replace soon-to-be-illegal tanks.
By Helen Johnson
Loggers and others in the forest industry who refuel equipment on a regular basis will soon be required to implement new requirements for portable fuel tanks. New regulations for the transportation of gasoline and diesel fuels—going into effect January 1, 2003—have many in the industry scrambling to replace soon-to-be-illegal fuel transport tanks.
Changes to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) regulations equate to stricter measures for the use of the portable tanks—many of them languishing in the backs of pick-up trucks. And although the changes have been in the works for more than seven years, industry has been slow to respond, according to Dave Eldridge, Transport Canada’s regional manager, transportation of dangerous goods.
The TDG Act is a federal criminal statute that is based on international standards for the importing, handling, offering for transport or transporting of dangerous goods or hazardous materials worldwide. The regulations reference Canadian national standards that set the rules for construction, testing and use of portable fuel tanks, which must be applied by all industrial or commercial operators. Failure to comply with the new regulations may carry stiff new penalties of up to a $50,000 fine for a first-time offence.
As of January 1, 2003, diesel fuel transported in a large container will no longer be exempt from container requirements and must be in compliance with either CAN/CGSB 43.146.02 or CAN/CSA B621-98. Diesel fuel transported in small containers of less than 450 litres continues to be exempt from the TDG regulations.
Old slip tanks or non-spec tanks with a capacity of more than 450 litres will be phased out between now and 2010, but in the meantime the tanks must pass annual leakage and external tests, as well as a pressure test every five years. And the responsibility is on the tank’s owner to have all the testing done before the deadline of January 1, 2003, in a highway tank facility registered in accordance with the requirements of CAN/CSA B620-98. New slip tanks must be UN 31A Standard mobile IBC to CGSB 43.146-2002 or, for tanks built prior to 2003, ULC/ORD C142.13-1997 mobile refueling tanks.
These two types of tanks must be visually inspected every five years in a facility registered in accordance with the requirements of CGSB 43.146. “It’s doubtful whether some of the older tanks will pass,” says Eldridge. “Some of them are just waiting for an ignition source.” Old D-tanks—most of which have capacities of greater than 450 litres—will have to comply with the new regulations and will no longer be allowable for containment above 450 litres.
The onus will be on users to verify that the tank’s capacity is less than 450 litres. Eldridge recommends all companies examine operations to make sure they are in compliance with all aspects of the new regulations, which include changes in training requirements, documentation and safety marks compliance.
Under the new regulations, between 30 and 450 litres of gasoline may be transported if the container meets sections CAN/CGSB 43.150-97 or CAN/CGSB 43.146-02 of the regulations. The biggest change was making these containments mandatory, says Eldridge. “We want to regulate the types of containers and how they are maintained, all in the name of safety.” Some of the safety features built into new tanks include valves for shutdown during transport, a shear-off section where the pump comes up so it will break away without leakage in case of an accident, stronger metals and stronger types of welds, as well as emergency pressure relief devices and strong posi-vents.
The new designs also do away with drain plugs that are prone to leaking. The changes bring Canada in line with the international dangerous goods code which the US and Mexico are already mainly in compliance with. Industry as a whole has been part of the open consultation process during the changes, which came into effect on August 15, 2002.
The fuel industry is well aware of changes to the regulations and is doing its best to pass the word around to users, says Eldridge. Another aspect of the regulation changes was a move to clear language, taking the regulations out of legalese and putting them into layman’s terms to make them easier to use. Clearing up some of the loopholes contained in the previous act and keeping the intent clear and unchanged were also accomplished. “We’re making it as painless as possible for them,” says Eldridge. For a complete outline of the regulations, visit Transport Canada online at www.tc.gc.ca/tdg Or call the regional office of Transport Canada in your area.
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