Maintaining compliance with cathodic testing requirements

September 6, 2019 By    

Cathodic testing and documentation is required by NFPA 58 for underground tanks installed or serviced in 2011 and on.

Be sure to track cathodic testing compliance. Photo courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council

Be sure to track cathodic testing compliance. Photo courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council

Review this checklist to evaluate if your company has the documentation and practices in place to meet NFPA 58 cathodic protection requirements:

  1. Do you have an initial testing record and inspection form for the tank in question? Initial inspection is required when you install a new underground tank or service an underground tank from 2011 and on.
  2. Do you have a completed follow-up testing? This is required by NFPA 58 on a timely basis after the initial inspection.
  3. Do you utilize technology or any system to track these follow-ups? Implementing a system that tracks inspections and provides compliance alerts when follow-ups are due is critical to maintain compliance.
  4. Are your cathodic tests documented and accessible? If you needed to reference a tank’s test history, could you do so easily? Using technology to store, track and retrieve tests can maximize internal efficiencies.
  5. Are your employees trained in proper cathodic testing methods? Make sure your employees have received hands-on training to conduct cathodic tests appropriately. Testing requirements, per NFPA 58, include:
    • Cathodic protection must be at least -.85 D.C. or more (meaning negative) using a copper-copper sulfate half cell.
    • Tests must be completed upon installation unless prohibited by climatic conditions, in which case testing shall be done within 180 days after installation of the system.
    • For continued verification of the effectiveness of the system, a test shall be done 12 to 18 months after the initial test.
    • Periodic follow-up testing shall be performed at intervals not to exceed 36 months.
    • Systems failing a test shall be repaired as soon as practical unless climatic conditions prohibit this action, in which case the repair shall be made not more than 180 days thereafter. The testing schedule shall be restarted as required initially.
    • Documentation of the two most recent tests’ results shall be retained.

Developing a streamlined process for your company’s cathodic testing documentation is critical to meet your NFPA 58 requirements while protecting your customers and your company.


Brent Cammett is a senior consultant for safety and training at P3 Propane Safety.

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