The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) announced that it has fined Chevron Phillips Chemical Company $84,800 for failing to have annual inspections performed on 16 power generating boilers at the company's Port Arthur chemical plant.

According to TDLR, the process steam generator boilers are required to receive both internal and external inspections at least annually and were due for inspection in February. The company failed to perform internal inspections of the boilers and also did not request an extension in the inspection timeline prior to the inspection due date. Chevron Phillips later asked for an extension on March 30, 53 days late, says TDLR.

Companies that operate boilers need to be aware of their responsibility to inspect those boilers regularly to ensure that the units can operate safely, noted William Kuntz, TDLR's executive director. The failure of an industrial boiler can have catastrophic consequences.

Chevron Phillips paid the fine and brought its boilers into compliance with state law.

TDLR rules require boilers to be examined internally and externally on a routine basis to determine the operating condition of the boiler. The interval between required inspections varies from one to three years depending on the type of boiler. Boiler inspectors examine the structural integrity of the boiler along with the associated safety devices that are attached to the boiler.

The loss of water, furnace explosion, over-pressure, and over-temperature are principal causes for boiler accidents and primarily occur because of the lack of controls and safety devices, lack of maintenance, lack of trained operators, failure to test controls and safety devices, and complacency due to long periods of trouble-free operation, says TDLR.

Publication date: 06/07/2004