Farmer-owned NH3 tanks off the hook

When Transport Canada granted anhydrous ammonia tanks a reprieve on its stricter inspection criteria until June 30, the question of farmer-owned tanks was left swinging in abeyance.

There was concern that farmer-owned tanks had been overlooked. In response, Fertilizer Canada and CAAR pushed the federal department for clarification on farmer-owned tanks. That result, along with other relevant Transport Canada certificates, is available on the CAAR website at bit.ly/2H4Pc1Q.

The announcement says farmers have a choice between three paths for using their own nurse tanks this spring if they require hydrostatic testing under the new three-year cycle. However, as the website states, “the option developed is not a blanket for farmers to use their own tanks.” In an interview April 12, CAAR executive director Mitch Rezansoff explained the Transport Canada provision to accommodate farmer-owned tanks.

“All stress-relieved farmer-owned tanks now go on the three-year hydrostatic test schedule, whether or not they’re post-weld heat-treated,” said Rezansoff.

“In the first option, a farmer can lease his nurse tank to a retail dealer, in which case the retailer’s certificate from Fertilizer Canada or CAAR applies to that tank. This is nothing new. It’s been quite common for a farmer to lease tanks to his retailer. We recommend that each retailer develop his own lease contract based on their level of risk for their circumstances. I’ve had a lot of calls from retailers on this aspect. They say it’s a satisfactory arrangement, and it’s something Transport Canada has encouraged as well.

“In the second option, a farmer can apply for his own certificate from Transport Canada. CAAR will help a farmer go through that process. Transport Canada recognizes the urgency, so the turn-around time would be pretty quick.”

Rezansoff said the third option currently opening up on farmer-owned tanks depends on discussions with various farm organizations. He said an organization representing farmers can apply for a certificate to represent farmer-owned tanks. All criteria that apply to a retailer would also apply to the farm organization.

All nurse tanks that had their last visual inspection in 2016 or earlier will require a visual prior to filling this spring. The inspector must be qualified under CSA B620 and be registered with TC.

The information in this story was current and correct when this Western Producer went to press. We will keep readers informed if there are other changes from Transport Canada.

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