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Hunting Leaks & Fugitive Emissions Volatile Organic compounds using EPA Methods 21

Leak detection is an essential component of risk management as it allows the operator to respond quickly to leaks and prevent further escalation of incidents. Having a robust detection system, capable of detecting leaks at an early stage, can bring many benefits such as:
• Less costly repairs
• Limiting down time of facilities
• Helping you to comply with and demonstrate compliance with legislation regarding emissions
• Reducing fugitive emissions
• Protecting the working environment of your workers and neighbours

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What are Fugitive Emissions?

Fugitive emissions are emissions of gases or vapours from equipment due to leaks. They can also be other unintended or irregular releases of gases. Most fugitive emissions originate from industrial activities such as the Oil and Gas industry as well as from other industrial manufacturing processes.

As well as the economic cost of lost commodities, fugitive emissions contribute to air pollution. Many fugitive emissions are given a Global Warming Potential (GWP) number. This number describes how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, relative to carbon dioxide which has a GWP of 1.

How to prevent Fugitive Emissions of VOC?

Proper routine maintenance of equipment reduces the likelihood of leaks and the best way to reduce fugitive emissions is through regular leak testing and maintenance. Leak detection is scheduled at regular intervals and uses gas detection devices, which can measure the amount of vapours escaping, allowing the operator to decide on an appropriate course of action.

EPA Method 21

EPA Method 21 is a standard procedure for leak detection and fugitive emissions monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). A continuously detecting meter is used to check joints and valves on pipelines and vessels for leaks. If a significant leak is detected, repairs must be carried out. Method 21 is the most commonly used technique for sniffing out leakages in an industrial setting and is an accepted global standard. Method 21 is not a fugitive emissions regulation, or a fugitive emission standard but a fugitive emission test procedure that helps companies comply with local emissions regulations. Method 21 requires the use of either, is a method requiring the use of either a photoionisation detector (PID) or flame ionisation detector (FID). ION Science is a world leading manufacture of photoionisation detectors, one of the two options recommended in Method 21.

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