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. I hope you'll find this information interesting and useful. Please let me know if there are topics you'd like to see covered here. Send me a note at, and I'll try to include your idea.

Please recommend The Boiler Room to other boiler professionals. They can sign up at the new Boiler News E-mail List.

Thanks for your interest!

- Linda Williamson, Boiler Chief


Aging Boiler Equipment causing safety issue

In recent years, it has been our observation that one type of boiler failure that occurs more often than others has been furnace explosions, especially on older boilers with single-valve fuel trains. At present, no corrective action can be taken as these boilers with single valve fuel trains are allowed to operate indefinitely if they were installed prior to June 1999, per our existing WAC 296-104-301

While this is not a pressure-containing part of the boiler, a furnace explosion can cause considerable property damage and more importantly, could result in injuries or fatalities. For this reason the Boiler Program has asked the Board of Boiler Rules and the Attorney General’s Office for assistance in addressing this problem.

The Attorney General’s Office, has decided that because this is a serious safety issue, it is within the authority of the Boiler Board of Rules to “un-grandfather” this equipment, thereby requiring owners to upgrade their single-valve fuel trains to current accepted jurisdictional standards. This process will involve a revision to the existing state boiler laws by the Boiler Board.

We know this decision could have an enormous impact on customers owning these older boilers. The Boiler Program will be initiating a campaign to inform owners of these older boilers of the possible dangers of continued operation with the existing single-valve fuel train. We’ll be seeking the assistance of other regulating jurisdictions and energy suppliers to help support and aid in this endeavor.

The Boiler Board is considering a five-year window in which the owners can voluntarily plan and implement the upgrade of their fuel train(s) before this requirement becomes mandatory.

We are pleased that Tony Oda, Boiler Program Technical Specialist, has agreed to take the lead on this project. He is very familiar with this issue and welcomes your input.


    Boiler Program assists in investigation of propane-tank failure

    On June 14, 2008, the Boiler Program was notified that a 2,000 gallon propane tank had split in half. The tank’s owner had discovered a crack in a seam and had contacted an authorized-repair organization to fix the crack.

    The repair organization performed a welded repair on the crack and successfully pressure-tested the tank at 325 psi upon completion of the repair. After releasing the pressure, the tank was left full of water overnight. The following morning the tank was found in two pieces approximately ten feet apart. Apparently the weld on an adjacent seam had failed. The tank was moved and stored in a secure location.

    L&I notified the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to request an investigation. The tank manufacturer was also notified.

    Propane tanks located in the state of Washington are by law exempt from inspections and fees, but they must meet all other requirements for construction, installation, and repair.

    An investigation is underway to determine why the tank split in half. This incident illustrates the importance of testing the pressure vessel with water, as it could have been a disaster had it failed while filled with propane.

    A defective propane tank (foreground) rests in two pieces after pressure testing


    Congratulations and thanks to Steve Prideaux

    Steve Prideaux, representative of Boilermakers/Operators, has been reappointed by the Governor for a second four-year term on the Board of Boiler Rules. Steve is an experienced and valued member of the Board, and we are please that he is willing to volunteer to serve another term.


    Boiler Program says good bye to AAG Steve Nash and welcomes Pam Reuland

    We would like to thank Steven Nash, Assistant Attorney General for valuable contributions made during his time of service to the Board of Boiler Rules. Steve accepted a new assignment in July and will no longer be representing the Board of Boiler Rules. We appreciation all of his hard work and wish him luck in his new assignment.

    Pam Reuland will be the new Assistant Attorney General representing the Board. Pam has been a practicing attorney for over 20 years, the majority of it with the Attorney General’s Office in Spokane. Pam has experience with the Administrative Procedure Act and other regulatory WACs has worked in the DSHS and Torts Divisions. We welcome Pam and look forward to working with her.


    Board of Boiler Rules meets with full agenda for September

    The Board of Boiler met September 10 with a full agenda that included working on a number of revisions to existing WACs and developing several new WACs. The changes will affect most all areas of Boiler law including, administration, inspection, installation and repair.

    Board meeting minutes and other information are posted at Board of Boiler Rules.


    Testing of “R” Stamp Repairs – Jurisdictional Examination and Test Requirements

    Per NBIC RC-2050 (C), the state of Washington has established that the preferred test method for verifying the integrity of repairs shall be a liquid pressure test. This liquid pressure test shall be conducted in accordance with the test procedures listed in NBIC RC-2051 (a). If it is not possible to perform a liquid pressure test, an alternative test method or examination as addressed in the NBIC may be used. The use of an alternative test or examination must have the concurrence of the inspector, the owner and the jurisdiction, when required. The alternate test method used will be noted on the “R-1” report, with a comment explaining why this alternate method was used.


Back to Top

Board of Boiler Rules

Our next Board of Boiler Rules Meeting will be held:

November 18 & 19, 2008 at 10 a.m, Room 3
Tacoma Labor & Industries
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA

Future meetings to be announced. 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 October 6 meeting will be held at:

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

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.

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

  © Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.

Help us improve