Propane Storage and Handling: Latest Developments

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Propane Storage and Handling: Latest Developments

Communiqué 2014-05

February 21, 2014

This communiqué updates and supplements the information contained in Fire Marshal’s Communiqué 2010-05, 2010-08, 2010-09, and 2010-15, which dealt with new regulatory requirements for propane facilities.

Consultation on Proposals

Following 2010 reforms to the regulation of propane storage and handling, the provincial government made a commitment to monitor the implementation of new safety measures in order to determine whether additional requirements might be needed for small propane transfer facilities. To satisfy this commitment and to complete the implementation of the Propane Safety Report recommendations made in 2008, the Ministry of Consumer Services, with the support of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), led a series of roundtable discussions in 2013 to discuss possible regulation amendments. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association (OMFPOA) and the Firefighters Association of Ontario (FFAO) participated in these discussions, as did the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM).

The Ministry of Consumer Services developed four proposals intended to enhance propane safety and minimize the burden on businesses, and is now seeking stakeholder comments and feedback. The attached letter provides some context for the proposals and refers stakeholders to the proposals posted on the ServiceOntario Regulatory Registry. Fire departments are encouraged to review the materials and offer comments, if any, through the Regulatory Registry. The deadline for submitting comments is March 21, 2014.

Propane Storage Locations

Also discussed at the 2013 roundtable discussions were certain types of propane storage locations: off-site storage locations for L1 (small) and L2 (large) licensed propane transfer facilities; and locations where propane is stored by a distributor not associated with a licensed transfer facility. Although these types of propane storage locations are not the subject of the proposals in the consultation package, they do raise concerns, which were brought forward in previous years by the fire service, as currently only L1 sites are required to identify their off-site storage locations during the Risk and Safety Management Plan (RSMP) approval/review process. Some of these storage sites might not be identified through the zoning process and could exist without municipalities or fire departments being aware of their existence.

The two types of storage locations are physically removed from licenced transfer facilities and may be used for storage and distribution purposes. No transfer of propane is allowed at storage locations. Businesses that maintain a storage location must adhere to safety requirements established under the CSA B149.2 Code. The TSSA has the authority to inspect all storage locations to ensure compliance with the Code. Storage locations may be used by a licensed transfer facility to reduce the site’s total allowable capacity, and they may be used by a distributor to store cylinders prior to delivery.

The TSSA has identified approximately 15 off-site storage locations throughout the province associated with L1 and L2 facilities. It will share this information with the fire departments of the municipalities in which these sites are located. The local authorities can then ensure that these locations are compliant with municipal requirements and fire departments can preplan a risk management approach commensurate with their capabilities. To ensure the list of propane storage locations (of the two types mentioned above) maintained by the TSSA is as complete as possible, the OFMEM is encouraging fire departments to inform the TSSA of any known propane storage locations in their municipalities by e-mail at fssubmissions@tssa.org.

The OFMEM thanks the OAFC, the OMFPOA and the FFAO for their ongoing participation and input in the propane project over the past few years, including the recent roundtable discussions, and for their commitment to ensure residents are safe from fire and other public safety hazards.

General enquiries from the fire service regarding Ontario Regulation 211/01, Propane Storage and Handling, may be directed to

Beth Tate, P. Eng.
Technical Services
OFMEM
Telephone: (416) 325-3231
Fax: (416) 325-3213
Beth.Tate@ontario.ca

Chad Brown, Program Specialist
Fire Protection Services
OFMEM
Telephone: (705) 295-2926
Fax: (705) 725-7259
Chad.Brown@ontario.ca

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