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Austenitic Stainless Steel
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Basic Weld Inspection - Part 2
Black Liquor Recovery Boilers - An Introduction
Boiler Efficiency and Steam Quality: The Challenge of Creating Quality Steam Using Existing Boiler Efficiencies
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Boiler/Burner Combustion Air Supply Requirements and Maintenance
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Creep and Creep Failures
Description of Construction and Inspection Procedure for Steam Locomotive and Fire Tube Boilers
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Environmental Heat Exchangers
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Failure Avoidance in Welded Fabrication
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Fuel Firing Apparatus - Natural Gas
Grain Boundaries
Heat Treatment - What Is It?
How to Destroy a Boiler -- Part 1
How to Destroy a Boiler -- Part 2
How to Destroy a Boiler -- Part 3
Identifying Pressure Vessel Nozzle Problems
Inspection, Repair, and Alteration of Yankee Dryers
Inspection, What Better Place to Begin
Laminations Led to Incident
Lay-up of Heating Boilers
Liquid Penetrant Examination
Low Voltage Short Circuiting-GMAW
Low Water Cut-Off Technology
Low-Water Cutoff: A Maintenance Must
Magnetic Particle Examination
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Microstructural Degradation
Miracle Fluid?
Organizing A Vessel, Tank, and Piping Inspection Program
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Pipe Support Performance as It Applies to Power Plant Safety and Reliability
Polymer Use for Boilers and Pressure Vessels
Pressure Vessel Fatigue
Pressure Vessels: Analyzing Change
Preventing Corrosion Under Insulation
Preventing Steam/Condensate System Accidents
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Putting a Stop to Steam Kettle Failure
Quick Actuating Closures
Quick-Actuating Door Failures
Real-Time Radioscopic Examination
Recommendations For A Safe Boiler Room
Recovering Boiler Systems After A Flood
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Repair or Alteration of Pressure Vessels
Residential Water Heater Safety
School Boiler Maintenance Programs: How Safe Are The Children?
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Short-Term High Temperature Failures
Specification of Rupture Disk Burst Pressure
Steam Traps Affect Boiler Plant Efficiency
Steps to Safety: Guide for Restarting Boilers After Summer Lay-Up
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Suggested Daily Boiler Log Program
Suggested Maintenance Log Program
System Design, Specifications, Operation, and Inspection of Deaerators
Tack Welding
Temperature And Pressure Relief Valves Often Overlooked
Temperature Considerations for Pressure Relief Valve Application
The Authorized Inspector's Responsibility for Dimensional Inspection
The Effects of Erosion-Corrosion on Power Plant Piping
The Forgotten Boiler That Suddenly Isn't
The Trend of Boiler/Pressure Vessel Incidents: On the Decline?
The Use of Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy in Clinical Hyberbaric Medicine
Thermally Induced Stress Cycling (Thermal Shock) in Firetube Boilers
Top Ten Boiler and Combustion Safety Issues to Avoid
Typical Improper Repairs of Safety Valves
Wasted Superheat Converted to Hot, Sanitary Water
Water Maintenance Essential to Prevent Boiler Scaling
Water Still Flashes to Steam at 212
Welding Consideration for Pressure Relief Valves
Welding Symbols: A Useful System or Undecipherable Hieroglyphics?
What is the Best Welding Process?
What Should You Do Before Starting Boilers After Summer Lay-Up?
Why? A Question for All Inspectors

Maintaining Proper Boiler Inspections Through Proper Relationships

Jim Whitaker
District Representative Buckman Laboratories Inc.

Fall 1997  

Category: Operations 


Summary: The following article is a part of National Board Classic Series and it was published in the National Board BULLETIN. (3 printed pages)



In my previous article on water treatment of boilers, I mentioned I would discuss the relationship between the owner/operator, boiler inspector, and water "treater" (or water treatment consultant). Their relationship is a topic that is seldom discussed and rarely found in print. However, it is key to maintaining safe boilers and pressure vessels.

In simple terms, a boiler inspector is a professionally trained and commissioned technical specialist charged with the examination of boilers.

While every boiler should be professionally inspected annually, there is more than one type of inspection made by an inspector. Jurisdictions and insurance companies recommend that power boilers be inspected annually, both internally and externally, while not under pressure. An external inspection while the boiler is under pressure is suggested midway between the annual inspections.

An internal boiler inspection consists of all waterside areas of the vessel (steam, blow-off, and water connections), and fireside conditions, as well as dearators, superheaters, and economizers. While evidence of internal corrosion and scale, leaks, overheating, and flame impingement are noted and documented in the boiler inspector's report, the root cause may require additional resources. Both the owner/operator and the water treatment consultant are this resource, playing an active role at this inspection, and in any subsequent adjustments made tot he boiler management program.

The term "water treatment service," performed by a water treatment consultant, connotes a wide variety of meanings. The functions performed both onsite and offsite include: technical back-up, report writing, problem solving, knowledge transfer, and chemical feed equipment maintenance, to name a few. Operating conditions and complexity of the system will often determine the frequency and scope of the service. Cost of this value-added service can be incorporated into the price charged for the treatment chemicals, or determined by a separate consulting service contract agreement.

During the course of an operation year, the water treatment consultant provides the owner/operator with chemical recommendations (and often treatment chemicals), to achieve the goals of safe operation and minimized maintenance through sound water chemistry. The owner/operator's water treatment log and consulting service water treatment reports are integral parts of the units' operating performance.

At the time of the inspection, pertinent data (records) for the steam generating unit must be readily available to the inspector in order for the changes of any condition to be easily noted and their impact on system operations assessed.

Advances in data management through upgrades of both in-plant computer hardware and software provide statistical process control capabilities for large and small steam plants. Graphical presentation of monitored parameters can highlight periods of operations within set specifications, as well as those where problems have occurred.

In turn, the owner/operator follows the prescribed chemical treatment recommendations that often specify the addition of corrosion inhibitors, polymer dispersants, crystal modifiers and sealants, etc. Both water chemistry and boiler feed water chemistry limits are defined using parameters contained in the ASME Code, Section VIII.

In addition to providing the inspector with operational chemical data, the water treatment consultant should have the capability to perform deposit analyses and metallographic analyses as the need arises. Frequently, these services are available either directly as an in-house function or outsourced to a credible independent analytical library. Photographic documentation using high-quality detailed 35 mm photography, and/or VHS video recording with fiber optic capability, is highly recommended for inspection of inaccessible areas of the vessel.

Advanced notice of a pending internal boiler inspection should also be made to the water treatment consultant by the owner/operator. It is a good idea for the service representative to be informed of waterside conditions and the collection of any deposits.

A written report (including analytical data and photographic documentation) by the water treatment consultant should be presented to the owner/operator and the boiler inspector. In the water treatment consultant's report, conclusions should be drawn from the assimilation of operating logs, routine water treatment service reports, deposit, and metallographic analysis. Time-bounded correction action should be clearly outlined and discussed in a scheduled annual review in order to achieve desired improvement goals for the next internal inspection. As a courtesy, the water treatment consultant should make these corrective actions and conclusions available to the boiler inspector.

Upon conclusion of the inspection, verbal discussions among the boiler inspector, owner/operator, and water treatment consultant often compare and contrast the general condition observed with that of previous inspections. Operation problems that were encountered since the last inspection should be brought to the inspector's attention. The impact upon the observed conditions can be evaluated and preliminary conclusions can be made.

The boiler inspector's written report to the owner/operator will then serve as a useful, concise chronological document in which cause and effect problems can be highlighted and constructive action can be taken to avoid recurrence.



Editor's note: Some ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code requirements may have changed because of advances in material technology and/or actual experience. The reader is cautioned to refer to the latest edition of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code for current requirements.


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