By Murray Toloui
Boilers and pressure vessels (BPVs) are important components in various industries, including agriculture. In Ontario, the Ministry of Labour previously exempted agricultural BPVs, including associated piping, from the Ontario Regulation 220/01 (the “BPV regulation”). However, following the Auditor General of Ontario's 2018 value-for-money audit of Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and consultations with industry stakeholders, the Ontario government decided to revoke the agricultural exemption for BPVs. The change took effect on July 1, 2021, and all boilers, pressure vessels, and piping used for agricultural purposes must now comply with the BPV regulation.
Importance of Piping Registration
The BPV regulation requires that all regulated piping systems manufactured for use in Ontario must be registered with TSSA. Registered piping designs are issued "P numbers." Piping registration is essential as it ensures that piping systems meet safety and performance standards. Furthermore, it allows for easier identification of piping systems and their components, which can be helpful in case of repairs or replacements.
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Transitioning Exempt Agricultural Piping
Due to the recent revocation of the agricultural exemption, TSSA anticipates that most existing piping used for agricultural purposes is likely not registered with a "P number." However, in keeping with TSSA's general approach to transitioning piping systems, any previously exempt agricultural piping system must be registered and obtain a "P number" if it is altered or repaired after July 1, 2021. Only the altered or repaired segment requires registration.
Agricultural Piping Specification
To help facilitate the transition from exempt to regulated, TSSA has published a specification that covers common, lower-risk piping used for agricultural purposes. This specification is intended to be used for repairs to existing agricultural piping and not for new construction. Designs for piping systems used for agricultural purposes that are installed after July 1, 2021, must be registered. TSSA will consider a repair to a regulated piping system (or segment of a piping system) installed before July 1, 2021, and used exclusively for agricultural purposes to be a registered piping system if it meets the Agricultural Piping Specification set out below.
Agricultural Piping Specification Requirements
The Agricultural Piping Specification provides an alternative to design registration for repairs to existing piping that was installed before July 1, 2021, and used for agricultural purposes only. Repairs to these piping systems need not have their design registered provided that they meet all the following conditions:
The design and construction of the piping system must conform to ASME B31.1 or ASME B31.3 Category D.
The design pressure of the piping system must not exceed 150 psig.
The design temperature of the piping system must be within the range of -20 to 366°F for carbon and stainless steel, and -20 to 250°F for copper.
The fluids transported through the piping system must not be flammable, toxic, or harmful to human tissues, as defined in ASME B31.3 para. 300.2.
A relief device must be installed on the piping system to protect it from pressure exceeding 150 psig.
The length of the piping system should not exceed 25 ft, unless it is a major extension, addition, or new system, in which case it must follow the design registration process.
All new fittings that are installed as part of the repair must have a valid Canadian Registration Number (CRN).
The piping system must be properly supported according to the appropriate design code, and the suggested steel pipe-support spacing can be found in ASME B31.1 Table 121.5-1.
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The piping system must meet all the conditions of one of the following groups:
"ASME B31.5 shall be followed for the design and construction of refrigeration piping, with a maximum design pressure of 450 psig and a temperature range of -20 to 125°F. Only A1 refrigerants operating within these pressure-temperature conditions are permitted, and piping shall be protected by a pressure-limiting or pressure relief device set at 450 psi or below. Tubing material shall be ASTM B280, B819 Type L, or B819 Type K, with a maximum size of 1-1/8" outside diameter except for ASTM B819 Type K where the maximum size is 1-5/8" outside diameter. Joints shall be brazed, and repairs to piping meeting these conditions need not be registered. However, companies repairing existing agricultural piping systems in accordance with this guideline must hold a valid Certificate of Authorization from TSSA or another Canadian jurisdiction. Therefore, it is important to contact the local TSSA BPV inspector before starting the repair and inform him/her of the intent to use this guideline in lieu of piping registration."
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