Detect Gas Leaks Quickly in your Facilities

April 27, 2022

Gas leaks can quickly turn into a major catastrophe in your facility.  At Carotek, we offer solutions with products that can monitor and detect dangerous gas levels in your facility and prevent gas leak disasters.  This article details gas monitoring solutions for water & wastewater facilities as well as gas boiler & mechanical rooms.

What type of gas hazards in plants need monitoring?

There are 3 primary gas hazards we recommend monitoring.  Flammable, Toxic and Asphyxiant (oxygen depleting).  Let's learn more about these first.

Flammable Gas Detection

Flammable gases, such as Methane, Hydrogen, Propane, when combined with the right combination of an ignition source, oxygen, and fuel in a gas or vapor form provides for the necessary means to create a fire or explosion.  The minimum concentration of combustible gas or vapor necessary to support its combustion in air is defined as the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). Below this level, the gas mixture is too “lean” to burn. The maximum concentration of a gas or vapor that will burn in the air is defined as the Upper Explosive Limit (UEL). Above this level, the mixture is too “rich” to burn. The range between the LEL and UEL is known as the flammable range for that gas or vapor.

Toxic Gas Detection

Toxic gases, such as Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide, are poisonous and are dangerous to life at very low levels. Some toxic gases have distinct odors (H2S, NH3) and others have no odors at all (CO). Very low levels inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin pose adverse effects from exposure.

Asphyxiant Gas Monitoring (Oxygen Depleting)

Gases such as Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Helium, Argon cause unique hazards. Where Oxygen levels are too rich, environments have the potential to become an explosive environment. Where Oxygen levels are too low, people within the environment can succumb to asphyxiation.

Water & Wastewater Treatment Facilities Gas Detection

Water & Wastewater treatment facilities take polluted water and make it environmentally safe. Untreated water contains chemicals, oils and human waste, goes through a treatment process for purification.   Water treatment uses chemicals and toxins that can become a potential threat to personnel at the facility as well as the facility building.

Toxic and combustible gases are one of the largest threats that come from the water treatment process. Throughout these facilities, you will find enclosed spaces where these gases may settle. Constant monitoring of gases has become one of the main safety protocols in these facilities.

Water Treatment Macurco

Why use a Gas Detection system

  1. Safety - Continuous monitoring within hazardous environments provides pre-entry confirmation for safe entry conditions. Personal monitoring ensures worker safety as they move through a potentially hazardous environment of changing conditions.
  2. Risk Mitigation - Having a gas detection system in place can help lessen the effects of corrosion on your equipment through notification of gas presence and providing ventilation control.
  3. Compliance - Fixed gas detection systems provide continuous monitoring ensuring compliance with Federal and Local regulations.

Water & Wastewater treatment facilities' common gas hazards are listed below by Gas Hazard type. Your local jurisdiction or your on-site safety personnel can recommend what to monitor for at these locations.

  • Combustible Gases - Methane, Propane, Hydrogen, Butane, etc.
  • Oxygen Depletion - Inert Gases
  • Toxic Gases - Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Chlorine, Sulfur Dioxide, Etc.
  • Belt press
  • Drum thickeners
  • Centrifuges
  • Digesters
  • Gravity belts thickeners
  • Sludge storage facilities
  • Wet wells
  • Dry wells
  • Bar screen areas (influent)
  • Cogen facilities where biogas is used to produce power
  • Chlorinator rooms
Wastewater Plant Gas Detection Marcurco

Recommended Water & Wastewater Gas Detection Products

Classified products (Class 1. Div1., Class 1. Div 2., NEMA rated) are the most commonly recommended. These fixed-point systems or wireless systems have the ability to detect gases 24/7 and report as necessary. Within the framework of either the fixed or wireless system, you can tie in a control panel, BAS or even use them stand alone. TXP-T40, TXP-WTA, Alarm Controller and Wireless Controller are all good choices.

Portable monitors are also commonly recommended as they are designed to give a real-time alarm when someone is in bad air or in danger of breathing in something toxic which can become fatal. A monitor like the PM400 detects several different gases at one time and has the ability for data/event logging. This data/event logging feature will give the personnel the ability to keep up to date if an area of the facility is deemed hazardous at certain points of operation.

Download Water & Wastewater Gas Monitoring Guide

Boiler & Mechanical Rooms Gas Monitoring & Detection

Mechanical rooms are often forgot about as unsafe spaces. Since Methane and/or Propane are commonly used for heating, a leak can become catastrophic.

If the gases are not fully combusted a harmful poisonous gas can result in Carbon Monoxide. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can become fatal if concentrations become high enough.

Chillers are also found in mechanical rooms and have the potential to leak refrigerant gases and that can become costly and extremely hazardous.

Boiler & Mechanical Rooms Gas Monitoring & Detection

NEW Gas Boiler Codes for Gas Monitoring & Detection

Many states are adopting laws that require the monitoring of these potentially hazardous environments in utility plants, boiler and chiller rooms, mechanical or electrical rooms, and fuel rooms.   For Carotek’s market area, Georgia specifically has adopted new codes. Contact Carotek for assistance selecting the right products to meet the new code.

Download NEW Georgia Boiler Codes

Why Install A Gas Detection System in a Boiler/Mechanical room?

  1. Personnel Safety - Any person within the property is potentially exposed to harmful gases.
  2. Building Safety - Proper ventilation and/or valve shut off at low levels of harmful or explosive gases can eliminate potentially hazardous situations.
  3. Savings - Gas leaks are very expensive but can be prevented if monitored or detected.

Gases Found

  1. Carbon Monoxide is one of the main gases emitted by a faulty boiler,  created by incomplete combustion. CO is the “silent killer” because it has no smell or taste and cannot be seen. Without a CO detector, a person is rendered helpless. Based on an article by the CDC, unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death by CO.
  2. Combustibles like Methane and/or Propane are combustible gases that when exposed to a spark or flame and mixed with the right amount of oxygen, can create an explosion. When not monitored, methane or propane creates a potentially hazardous and dangerous environment.
  3. Refrigerants - Refrigerant poisoning typically occurs in locations such as confined spaces or enclosed chiller rooms. Symptoms of mild or moderate poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and dizziness. Severe poisoning can be fatal.

Recommended Gas Detection Products for Boiler & Mechanical Rooms

The Macurco 6 & 12 Series fixed gas detectors provide life-saving solutions aimed to protect people and property. These fixed gas detectors are designed for low-level detection, mitigation, and notification. Let these detectors do the work for you by shutting off valves, turning on fans, engaging horns and strobes, and provide notification to fire panels and building automation systems when gases reach key limits.  Our specialized Gas Boiler controller provides automatic shutdown at certain gas levels.

Macurco Gas Detection & Monitoring Products

Macurco’s products provide the most advanced gas detection and protection of workers and the community via three product solutions. These solutions include:

Macurco fixed gas monitors  - the innovative, industry-standard for security systems, building automation, HVAC systems, parking structure, cold storage, beverage, and restaurant CO2 detection.

Superior TracXP - fixed wireless gas monitors for industrial applications.

AimSafety portable gas detection monitors - for personal monitoring of specific gases in potentially hazardous environments.

Download Boiler Gas Detection Guide

Gas Monitoring IIoT Connectivity and Automation System Integration

With expansive connection options, our products can tie into your Building Automation System (BAS), alarm system or tie directly into our controllers. The detection of these harmful gases coincides with the alarm system which are vital notifications for anyone working on-site. Telemetry for fence line or remote location monitoring in real-time is also available providing a cost-savings for your facility.

Learn more about Macurco Gas Monitoring & Detection Products

Want to take gas monitoring & detection to a new level to prevent gas leak disasters?

Carotek can offer Gas Detection products for just about any application.  Other examples include:

Oil & Gas Upstream:Wired and wireless CO2, CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2S, SO2Oil & Gas Mid-Stream:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2S, NH3, O2Oil & Gas Downstream:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2, H2S, HF, NH3, O2, SO2Petrochemical:Cl2, CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, HCl, H2S, NH3, SO2Terminals:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2S, O2Water and Waste Water Treatment Facilities:Cl2, CO, Flammable Gases (Methane), H2S,NH3, O2, O3, SO2Food Processing / Cold Storage:Cl2, CO, CO2, H2, H2S, NH3, O2Rendering Facilities:H2S, NH3, O2Paper Mills:Cl2, ClO2, CO, Hydrogen, H2S, SO2Waste Management:CO, CO2, Flammable Gases (Methane)Agriculture:CO, CO2, Flammable Gases, NH3Vehicle Maintenance Facilities:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2, NO, NO2,SO2Aircraft Hangars and Maintenance Facilities:CO, Flame, Flammable GasesPower Generation:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2, NH3, NO2, SO2Automotive Manufacturing:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, NO, NO2, SO2Methane Districts:Flammable Gases (Methane)General Manufacturing:CO, CO2, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2, H2S, HCl, HF, NH3, O2, SO2Warehousing:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, NO2, SO2Back Up Power Supply Facilities:H2Maritime:CO, CO2, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2S, O2Alternative Fuel Fleet Facilities:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, H2Printing Facilities:Flame, Flammable Gases (Inks)Emergency Response / Management:Cl2, Flammable Gases, HCl, HF, NH3, SO2Post Office / Shipping Facilities:CO, Flame, Flammable Gases, NO2, SO2 , MethanePharmaceuticals:Flame, Flammable Gases

Content for this article sourced from