Q: What type of remote monitoring system does the Department require for compliance with the rules regarding non-continuous attendance?

A: The monitoring device must immediately audibly and visibly notify the licensed boiler operator that an abnormal boiler condition exists. This device must also provide the operator with a means to immediately shut down the boiler. The operator must be in the same building.

Q: What are the requirements of the maintenance log book?

A: By law, the licensed engineer shall perform daily maintenance which shall be logged. Minimum maintenance requirements may be found in the Operator's State Log Book, which may be found on-line at http://www.mass.gov/dps/applicat.htm. Additional logs and round sheets are strongly encouraged.

Q: With Continuous Attendance, does an operator have to remain within the site of the boiler gauge glass or in the same boiler room?

A: Continuous attendance requires that a licensed operator attend the boiler during all times of operation. This is meant to ensure that the operator is aware of abnormal or unsafe boiler or steam engine conditions, and is able to respond immediately within the boiler room.

Q: If an operator is in a room adjacent to the boiler, and can see the gage through a clear glass window, will the operator satisfy the requirement for continuous attendance?

A: Only if the licensed operator can see and recognize an unsafe or abnormal condition, and has the ability to correct the condition immediately.

Q: If an adjoining or enclosed walkway is added between two buildings, can the operator go between buildings in a non-continuous attendance facility?

A: No. By law, the operator cannot leave the building. The Massachusetts State Building Code defines the boundary of a building. Adjoining two separate buildings by an enclosed walkway does not qualify them as one building under the Code.

Q: When can a person be in charge of two plants?

A: Chapter 146 allows an engineer to be in charge of two plants under two conditions:

1. If the additional plant is within one mile from the specific plant that the engineer or fireman is designated to be in charge of, or,

2. If a licensed second or third class engineer or fireman is in attendance at both facilities and the operator performs his duties under the supervision of such engineer or fireman.

Q: Does this mean a fireman can perform the duties of a second class engineer, if he is chief of two plants and performing the duties under the supervision of the engineer?

A: No. By law, no one shall have charge of a steam boiler unless he has the appropriate license. A 2nd Engineer may be chief of two plants provided that the second plant also has a 2nd Engineer performing his duties under his supervision at all times. See G.L. c. 146, §46.

Q: I am trying to determine how modular hot water heating boilers should be numbered. I have done inspections at facilities where the modular boilers were considered as one boiler and received only one "W" number. The four boilers were tied into one supply header with no intervening valves, had one low water cutoff, and one relief valve which exceeded the combined firing capacities of the burners. I recently did an inspection where each modular unit had its own "W" number. Which numbering system is correct?

A: If you have a string of boilers tied to a common header, the codes are clear on what is required. Having one relief valve for a series of boilers is completely unacceptable and unsafe. If you run the calculations you will be able to determine this. Each boiler shall have an individual Massachusetts tag number, not each string of boilers.

Q: I have a high pressure boiler supplying steam to a turbine. I would like to tie a low pressure boiler and high pressure boiler into a common header to supply low pressure steam during a plant startup. Are there any specific requirements that I need to look at when installing the lower pressure boiler?

A: The Massachusetts Board of Boiler Rules has adopted the National Board Inspection Code. The NBIC addresses requirements for piping together boilers that have different maximum allowable working pressures. RB-3570 (a) of the National Board Inspection Code states the following:

"If boilers are piped together with maximum allowable working pressures differing by more than 6%, additional protective devices may be required on the lower pressure units to protect them from overpressure from the higher pressure unit."

To clarify this, it is required that the steam line header between the low pressure boiler and its first stop valve shall have safety valve(s) attached with the capacity to prevent the pressure from rising above the MAWP of the lower pressure boiler. If you need further guidance in determining the appropriate capacity, please contact the Department with more specific information on your project.