All Good Things Must Come to an End: How to Decommission Ammonia Systems According to ANSI/IIAR 8-2020

January 4th, 2022 | , ,


Last year IIAR published a new edition to Standard 8 Decommissioning of Closed-Circuit Refrigeration Systems. ANSI/IIAR 8-2020 contains many of the same minimum requirements as the 2015 edition, but as always, there are a few nuances worthy of our attention. First, let’s get the big picture of Standard 8.

Overview of Standard 8

Standard 8 is the 8th of 9 ammonia refrigeration standards published by IIAR as part of their vision to provide minimum requirements for ammonia refrigeration systems from cradle to grave. The publication addresses minimum requirements for decommissioning ammonia refrigeration systems. The term “decommissioning” is defined in ANSI/IIAR 1-2017 as “the permanent deactivation of a closed-circuit refrigeration system or part thereof.”

Standard 8 is structured in the same manner as other IIAR standards, with normative requirements in Chapters 1-5 and informative content in the appendices. Appendix A serves as commentary for Chapters 1-5. An asterisk (*) used before a normative paragraph, is a signal that Appendix A has additional, non-mandatory information on that section.

Appendices B and C have useful resources for those responsible for decommissioning. An example “Decommissioning Checklist” is included in Appendix B, while Appendix C contains a “Final Review Checklist”.

Chapters 4-5 contain the majority of prescriptive requirements, with Chapter 4 addressing preparation for decommissioning activities. Chapter 5 covers conducting decommissioning activities and follow-up activities.

Items Worth Our Attention

It is beyond the scope of this blog to address each requirement in the document, so I’ll cherry-pick a few that caught my attention.


§4.7 requires that personnel involved in decommissioning activities be identified. The standard defines four (4) roles that must be filled:

  • Coordinator. The person(s) coordinating the decommissioning activities.
  • Decommissioning Team Members. Facility personnel and/or contractors who perform the decommissioning activities.
  • Response Personnel. Facility personnel, contractors and/or offsite personnel who would respond to emergencies during decommissioning activities.
  • Affected Personnel. Facility personnel and/or contractors who could be affected by the decommissioning activities, but are not directly involved in them.

The standard does not state whether or not one person can be responsible for multiple roles, but it does require that all roles listed be filled.

Operating Procedures

During the preparation phase, operating procedures must be developed to document the steps that will be taken during decommissioning activities. These procedures are the blueprint for conducting decommissioning activities in §5.2.


All decommissioning team members must be trained. §4.12.1 requires that the training address:

  • An overview of the decommissioning activities.
  • A description of the safety and health hazards and the properties of ammonia, lubricating oil, and other chemicals involved in the decommissioning activities, including first aid for exposure to these chemicals.
  • A review of the operating procedures that document the steps that will be taken during decommissioning activities.

Follow Up

Once decommissioning activities have been conducted in accordance with the operating procedures, all facility documentation must be updated to reflect the decommissioned system. As a final step, Standard 8 requires that all appropriate government agencies (e.g. CUPAs in California) be contacted after the decommissioning activities are complete.

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