The Boiler Room Newsletter - A look at boiler operations, maintenance and safety

A message from the Chief

Hello, and thank you for reading The Boiler Room. This newsletter gives me an opportunity to tell you about new developments and accomplishments in the Boiler Program. I hope you enjoy reading it. If there are other topics you'd like to see covered here, send me a note at, and I'll try to include it.

Please recommend The Boiler Room to other boiler professionals. They can sign up here to receive it via e-mail.

Thanks for your interest!

- Linda Williamson, Boiler Chief


Changes to Boiler law signed into law

In this year's Legislative Session, we were pleased that the Legislature passed House Bill 1366, our proposed changes to the Boiler law that allow us to continue to provide high quality service that is consistent with current industry practices. The changes include:

  • Eliminating unnecessary inspections by amending the two-year requirement for internal inspections of hot water heating boilers.
  • Revising the current exemptions to be consistent with the adopted national standards.

Thank you to all of you who supported this bill and helped to get it passed.

L&I staff and bill sponsors watch as House Bill 1366 is signed into law.
Back row: Sally Elliott, Nichole Adamson, Josh Swanson, Tim Barker, Steve Bacon, Alicia Curry.
Front row: Linda Williamson, Representative Alex Wood, Governor Chris Gregoire, Anna Schmidt, Karol Conly, Tony Oda.


Childcare Facility project finds problems

The greatest potential danger from boilers and pressure vessel comes from those objects that have not yet been inspected. A good example would be childcare facilities, which are generally thought to be exceptionally vulnerable. Childcare facilities are required by law to have a biennial water-heater inspection. With this in mind, the Boiler Program initiated a project to ensure that all licensed child-care facilities in the state of Washington had a water heater (boiler) inspection this spring.

What we found after the project was completed was that 26% of childcare centers had never had an inspection . Then when we did the inspections, we found a 17% violation rate -- more than double the national average.

We began the project by getting a list from Department of Social and Health Services of 2,045 licensed childcare facilities with a capacity of 13 or more children. After comparing it with our inspection database, we identified 543 facilities with no inspection history. We then sent an informational letter to each of the 543 locations to inform them of their responsibilities to operate safely and within the law.

The Boiler Programs 11 inspectors followed up with these facilities and completed inspections for each one. The facilities were required to make the corrections for the violations we found before an operating permit was issued.

As a result of this effort, childcare facilities are safer and the operators are better informed of their responsibilities. We hope to see much better compliance from this sector in the future.


2009 Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA) Annual Technical Meeting

Even with the economic downturn, over 100 individuals attended the WSBIA annual conference in March, a clear indication of the great job the association does to keep this meeting current and relevant to the industry.

Many thanks to the association members and officers: Edward Jackson, Chair; Suki Otal, Vice Chair; and Ed Parry, Secretary.  We also want to give a special thanks to all the speakers for sharing their expertise and to those companies that provided financial support.

Next year’s 46th Annual WSBIA meeting will move from March to April and will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Tukwila.  The Boiler Program WSBIA Web site will have details as they become available.


Attention: Owners, Installers and Inspectors

The Board of Boiler Rules and the Boiler Program have been working hard to clarify “grey” areas and conflicts between our adopted codes and our state boiler laws.  Here are the most current WAC changes that will impact you and your business.

Effective July 1, 2008
WAC 296-104-010 Revised the definition of expansion tanks to allow for non ASME Code expansion tanks to be used on closed heating systems that operate at 30 psi or less in accordance with the requirements of ASME Section IV, HG-709.2.

WAC 296-104-010 Revised the definition of power boiler, removing the words “or other fluid”, these three words had led inspectors to believe that boilers used for process heating (using heating oils or other medium) were required to be inspected. The jurisdiction’s intent is to regulate only pressure retaining items that are within the scope of the adopted codes, in this case these process heaters are not within the scope of ASME Section I.

Effective January 1, 2009
WAC 296-104-102 Standards for inservice inspections: In addition to the adoption of 2007 NBIC Part 2, these words were added “The duties of the in-service inspector does not include installation’s compliance to other standards and requirements (environmental, construction, electrical, undefined industrial standards, etc) for which other regulatory agencies have authority and responsibility to oversee.” The jurisdiction’s intent was to clearly define the inservice inspector’s inspection boundary to only our boiler rules/law and adopted standards. The Boiler Section’s Attorney General Counsel has advised that any inspector working outside their jurisdictional authority/boundary could be held personally liable for damages.

WAC 296-104-302 What fuel controls are required on automatically fired boilers: This WAC was totally rewritten to remove all references to ASME CSD-1, Part CF and the CSD-1 startup report. The board and the jurisdiction recognize that ASME CSD-1 was developed for field erected boilers and is not the exclusive fuel train standard that should be enforced.  This change allows inspectors to accept any nationally or internationally certified package boiler, including ASME CSD-1 certified boilers.

WAC 296-104-500 Standards for repairs/alterations: Adoption of the 2007 NBIC Part 3.


Additional clarification items:

RCW 70.70.090 (5) Per ASME Section IV, HG-708 and HLW 808, hot water storage tanks with capacity of 120 gallons or less that are used on potable, supply, or heating systems are acceptable if built to a recognized standard and has an appropriate safety device. Hot water storage tanks above 120 gallons in capacity will be constructed in accordance with ASME Section IV, Part HLW, ASME Section VIII, Division 1, or ASME Section X.

Wall hung “tankless” water heaters: In accordance with new RCW 70.79.080 (13), all units having a water volume of 1.5 cubic feet (11.25 gallons) or less, regardless of btu heat input, are exempt. These units will be inspected only if the water volume exceeds 1.5 cubic feet ( 11.25 gallons).

WAC 296-104-010 Revised definition of Low Pressure Boiler, added exclusion for boilers operating on an open system and factory sealed vacuum boilers.


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Board of Boiler Rules

Our next Board of Boiler Rules Meeting will be held:

September 8 & 9, 2009 at 10 a.m, Room 3
Tacoma Labor & Industries
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA

Future meetings will be November 17 & 18, 2009. View the agenda and minutes from past meetings.

Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA)

The Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA) holds a lunch meeting on the first working Monday of each month to discuss current topics. The July 6 meeting will be held at:

Goldie's Airport Way
3924 Airport Way S.
Seattle, WA

46th Annual Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association Meeting is April 16, 2010.

To receive an invitation to upcoming events, contact the association at:


As the Department of Labor & Industries Boiler/Pressure Vessel Section, we are working hard to provide you with quality customer service. Sign up for our Listserv and receive safety bulletins and news.


Please see the L&I Boiler Inspector Web page to find the inspector in your area.

For questions about boiler regulations, fees and forms, please contact:

Tony Oda, Technical Specialist
Phone: 360-902-4983

Alicia Curry, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 360-902-5271

Karol Conly, Customer Service Specialist (Supervisor)
Phone: 360-902-5273

Kay Piesch, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5272

Annabel Schmidt, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5267

Department of Labor & Industries
Boiler Program
Phone: 360-902-6400
Fax: 360-902-5292

The Boiler Room is a Web-based newsletter from the Department of Labor & Industries' Boiler Program.

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