Effects of a Surface Engineered Metallic Coating on Elastomeric Valve Stem Seal Leakage Page: 13
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The definition of a volatile organic compound leak in federal regulations is
10,000 parts per million by volume (ppmv). Many states and local governments have
defined leaks to a much lower level (United States Environmental Protection Agency
1999). Chemical process industries are required to monitor and report monthly if greater
than 2% of their components are above the regulatory definition of a leak. Chemical
process industries may monitor and report on a yearly basis if the number of components
above the regulatory definition of a leak is less than 2% (U.S. Code of Federal
Regulations Part 60: Standards of performance for new stationary sources 2000).
The EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC) conducted a
study of seventeen refineries in 1999 to compare valve leaks reported by refineries with
valve leaks measured by the EPA. While the reported proportion of leaking valves
averaged 1.3 %, EPA testing found that on average 5.0 % of the valves at these facilities
were at or above the regulatory definition of a leak. The EPA concluded that many of
these facilities were releasing more chemicals to the environment than reported and this
could result in an increase in local smog problems. It is worth noting that in this same
study the EPA found that compliance to LDAR regulations is facilitated by using a lower
than regulatory mandated definition of a leak. Several refineries used a leak definition as
low as 500ppmv in their LDAR programs (United States Environmental Protection
Valve Stem Leak Testing
Federal Regulations specify EPA Test Method 21 for VOC leak detection (U.S.
Code of Federal Regulations Method 21: Determination of volatile organic compound
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Taylor, John Abner. Effects of a Surface Engineered Metallic Coating on Elastomeric Valve Stem Seal Leakage, thesis, December 2000; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2690/m1/21/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .