Leak Detection and Repair
In October of 1999, the EPA published an Enforcement Alert communication intending to fully impose the Clean Air Act. The act includes 25 federal standards that require Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs to be in place, in an effort to reduce the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) leaked to atmosphere.
Recently there has been a renewed effort by federal and state agencies to enforce this initiative with environmental compliance inspections. The commitment to maintaining the LDAR programs ensure increased worker safety, decreased health risks to the community and avoiding enforcement actions.
The EPA advises implementing a LDAR program at your facility to adhere to the standards set. The program consists of 5 steps:
- Identify Components
- Leak Definition
- Monitor Components
- Repair Components
- Record Keeping
As part of the LDAR program, the EPA released requirements regarding component design. Valves must be certified "Low-Leak" or "Low-Emission", meaning a manufacturer has issued either a written guarantee, certification or equivalent documentation that states the valve or valve packing will not leak above 100 parts per million (ppm) for 5 years. The component can also be tested pursuant to generally-accepted good engineering practices and found to be leaking at no greater than 100 ppm.
Facility equipment with the highest risk of VOC leaks include:
- Sampling Connections
- Pressure Relief Devices
- Open-ended Lines
Leaks occur most often in valves and connectors because they are the most prevalent in facilities.
Swagelok offers a number of products certified "Low-Emission" and meet the standards required.