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What is Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)?

A Definition of LDAR
Leak Leak Detection and Repair definedDetection and Repair (LDAR) regulations were put into place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile hazardous air pollutants (VHAPs) being emitted by leaking equipment such as valves, pumps, and connectors in industries such as petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing. In an effort to curb the emissions, the EPA instituted regulations and compliance programs. LDAR managers and technicians are to follow fundamental LDAR procedures, such as Method 21 monitoring techniques and analyzer calibration procedures, to keep their LDAR programs in compliance.
An LDAR program is the system of procedures a facility utilizes to locate and repair leaking components, including valves, pumps, connectors, compressors, and agitators, in order to minimize the emission of fugitive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The EPA conducts audits and pursues enforcement actions in the petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing industries in order to verify minimization of VOC and HAP emissions. Facilities of all sizes have been reviewed as a result of this EPA program.
LDAR Program Best Practices
At a minimum, LDAR programs should include scheduling inspections to ensure compliance, producing and tracking work orders as soon as leaking components are discovered, and environmental reporting. Successful LDAR programs implement the following LDAR program best practicesLDAR best practices

  • Integrate an awareness of the benefits of leak detection and repair into the company’s operating and maintenance program
  • A written LDAR program that includes an overall, facility-wide leak rate goal, procedures for identifying leaking equipment within process units, procedures for repairing and keeping track of leaking equipment, and more
  • Training that provides LDAR personnel with technical understanding to implement the written LDAR program and educate LDAR team members on their individual responsibilities
  • Internal and third-party audits of a facility LDAR program to ensure the LDAR program is correctly conducted and that issues are identified and corrected
  • Put sufficient oversight procedures into place to increase accountability of contractors performing monitoring
  • Use an internal leak definition for valves and pumps in light liquid or gas vapor service and monitor against that uniform definition
  • Include a plan for more frequent component monitoring, especially of those that contribute most to equipment leak emissions
  • Make a first attempt at repair within five days of leak detection and a final repair within fifteen days; place any component that cannot be repaired within those time frames on a Delay of Repair list to be repaired during the next shutdown cycle
  • Ensure that you can justify the equipment on the Delay of Repair list and have a plan in place to fix these components
  • Utilize electronic monitoring and storage of LDAR data
  • Include procedures to ensure the QA/QC review of all data generated by LDAR monitoring technicians is completed on a daily basis or at the conclusion of each monitoring occurrence
  • Consistently calibrate LDAR monitoring equipment using an appropriate calibration gas that is in accordance with 40 CFR Part 60, EPA Reference Test Method 21
  • Follow all recordkeeping and reporting requirements and have organized records readily available to demonstrate that the LDAR program is a component of the organization’s routine operation and management

These best practices are streamlined with the use of automatic data capture technology featuring the right bar code labels for an LDAR program. Camcode’s Metalphoto® Bar Code Label with Teflon®, for example, represent the industry standard for fugitive emissions applications and provide “excellent resistance to chemicals, solvents and will withstand exterior exposure in the harshest environments, including extreme cold, heat and UV.” What’s more, when treated with Camcode’s image intensification process, these Teflon® Coated Bar Code Labels for Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Applications offer an expected exterior lifespan of 20+ years.
Benefits of LDAR Programs
Obviously, cost savings, environmental protection, and worker and community safety are the goals of an effective LDAR program. The specific benefits of LDAR programs are staggering, as petroleum refineries could reduce emissions from equipment leaks by 63% and chemical facilities could reduce VOC emissions by 56% by implementing LDAR programs. Additionally, the EPA estimates that facilities potentially save $730,000 per year per facility, based on the average value of product loss due to equipment leaks being $1,370 per ton.
More on LDAR
For more information on LDAR, check out the following articles:

Images via Flickr by haymarketrebel and dionhinchcliffe

1 thought on “What is Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)?”

  1. Does contractors have to be certified to perform monitor LDAR readings in a chemical facility? Or does the contractor have be trained by someone who is certified?
    Thanks
    Arnold

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