Important Update to API 570 Regarding Critical Check Valves

Earlier this month, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released Addendum 1, affecting the current version of API 570. This update contains an important change regarding the inspection and testing of critical check valves (Section 5.13). Where the previous version contained a “should” statement, the May 2017 addendum updates the “should” to a “shall,” moving adequate inspection and testing of critical check valves from a recommendation to a requirement. Facilities that have inspection programs driven by API 570 will need to adapt to the updated code. In other words, now is the time to develop a formal critical check valve program.

API 570 Background

API 570, Piping Inspection Code: In-service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration of Piping Systems, is an inspection code published by API regarding inspection, rating, repair, and alteration procedures for in-service piping systems and associated pressure relieving devices. This code exists to provide requirements and guidelines for preserving mechanical integrity and safety for in-service piping systems.

The most recent edition of API 570 was published in February of 2016 and is the fourth edition of this code. In May of 2017, API published an addendum to this code.

May 2017 Update

The May 2017 Addendum 1 to API 570, Piping Inspection Code: In-service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration of Piping Systems, Fourth Edition, February 2016 contains six updates:

  1. Section 5.6.2 – regarding determined corrosion rates and remaining life for systemized/circuitized piping
  2. Section 5.7.1 – regarding thickness measurements on small bore piping
  3. Section 5.13 – regarding inspection and testing of critical check valves
  4. Section 6.3.4.1 – regarding inspection plan reviews for changes in pipe service conditions
  5. Section 6.3.4.2e – regarding hydrofluoric acid in main and trace acid services
  6. Section 7.1.2 – regarding the equation for short term corrosion rate

Section 5.13 – Critical Check Valves

In the Fourth Edition of the code, published February 2016, Section 5.13 addressed critical check valves, stating that they “should be adequately inspected or tested to provide greater assurance that they will prevent flow reversals.” However, the May 2017 Addendum updates this sentence in Section 5.13, changing the word “should” to the word “shall.” Thus, the update to the code reads:

“Critical check valves shall be adequately inspected or tested to provide greater assurance that they will prevent flow reversals.”

What Does this Mean?

This update is important, as “should” indicates a recommendation, and “shall” indicates a requirement—moving adequate inspection and testing of critical check valves from a recommendation to a requirement.

Facilities that have inspection programs driven by API 570 will need to adapt to the updated code. In other words, if you haven’t developed your critical check valve program in a formal sense, now would be the time to do so.

The first step you should take is to establish a reliable and repeatable method of identifying and classifying which check valves are “critical.” You should also determine how critical check valves are to be managed. Oftentimes, facilities have a list of critical check valves that come out of a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA). However, this list is utilized in a worst-case scenario type way. There is no repeatable process in place. Instead, those that are thought to be in the worst condition are identified.

Reliable and Repeatable Method

PinnacleART has developed a proven process for managing critical check valves. This method has already helped our clients identify their critical check valves and implement inspection plans that are formalized in the same way as their piping and pressure vessel inspection plans. The method, at a high-level, is outlined below.

  1. Determine how your facility will define “critical.”
  2. Use existing PHA and risk data to identify the check valves that are “critical” (for example, those that are Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE)-critical and/or economic-critical).
  3. Develop appropriate inspection plans for those deemed “critical.”
  4. Put inspection plans into your preferred system, either Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or Inspection Data Management System (IDMS), to drive Inspection.

We begin with establishing the management process that helps you define what a critical check valve is—specifically, how your facility will define “critical.” If we’re able to identify something that may cause flow reversal and end up 1) causing health and safety problems for the entire facility, or 2) causing a lot of economic damage—that’s a big deal and we want to know about it. Then we utilize existing data to identify the critical check valves and develop appropriate inspection plans.

With a defined process, facilities will be prepared to develop inspection plans for critical check valves on a consistent/repeatable basis. Additionally, a defined process will help facilities achieve compliance with the new API 570, Section 5.13 update.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us here to submit any questions you have about managing the critical check valves in your facility.