CO2 and Inert Gas Systems

On May 2, 2017, the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD), Division of the Fire Marshal issued a new administrative ruling 2017-1 regulating the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and inert gases in beverage dispensing applications. This ruling was codified with the adoption of the 2018 Colorado Springs Fire Code Amendments on June 4th, 2018. This new regulation is in response to incidents in restaurants, convenience stores, and other locations around the nation involving hazardous concentrations of CO2 and inert gas that have led to injuries and even death to customers, employees, and emergency responders.

Effective June 4th, 2018, existing CO2 and inert gas systems used in beverage dispensing or other applications with a capacity of more than one hundred pounds of CO2 in use, located within existing buildings in the City of Colorado Springs shall be retrofitted and modified to comply with Colorado Springs Fire Code Section 5307.

Businesses that use CO2 and/or inert gas subject to the requirements of Colorado Springs Fire Code Section 5307 shall complete one of the following to be considered in compliance:

  1. Its CO2 and/or inert gas system shall have a current operational permit that demonstrates it had been permitted, approved, and inspected per Section 5307 requirements.
  2. The system must be brought into compliance: a. It shall formally submit a permit application containing construction drawings and specifications to the Colorado Springs Fire Department Division of the Fire Marshal for approval. b. Once the permit application is approved, the system must be installed, inspected, and signed off.
  3. Its location shall reduce the system in-use quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or inert gas to less than one hundred (100) pounds.

Businesses that use a CO2 and/or inert gas system with a capacity of 100 pounds or greater and do not currently comply with these requirements must submit a permit application to the Colorado Springs Fire Department Division of the Fire Marshal prior to their next annual inspection, or as directed by the fire code official. Construction drawings and specifications must be formally submitted with the permit application for review. The Colorado Springs Fire Department may seek any available remedies authorized in the Colorado Springs Fire Code to businesses that use CO2 and/or inert gas systems regulated by Section 5307 and fail to comply by their next annual inspection date or as directed by the fire code official.

Please contact the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Division of the Fire Marshal at 719-385-5978 if there are any questions regarding proposed alternatives or issues with meeting the new code requirements

Documents

Guidance: Requirements for carbon dioxide and other inert gas systems.

CO2 Questionnaire: Form required to be submitted with plans when Carbon Dioxide is, or will be used for beverage dispensing, atmosphere enrichment or any other use.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a follow-up to the Industry Bulletin issued by the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) July 24th , 2018, the following is provided for clarification and next steps:

Do the new CO2 and inert gas regulations apply to my business?

Businesses in the City of Colorado Springs that have CO2 and/or inert gas systems of 100 pounds or more in capacity at any one time are required to comply with the requirements and have a permit issued.

Do spare cylinders count towards the 100 pounds?

The 100-pound limit applies only to cylinders connected to the system and in use. Spare cylinders in storage do NOT count towards this limit.

 If we need a permit and did not complete one of the items listed in the Industry Bulletin, what is the next step?

Please submit a permit application (with plans) to the Division of the Fire Marshal following the procedures outlined in the CO2 and inert gas system guidance document, available on the CSFD website.

Who should we contact to assist us in obtaining the required permits?

Contact your current gas supplier for assistance. A permit application requires drawings and specifications to be submitted to the fire department for approval.

Does Colorado Springs Fire Department recommend any supplier or installer for this work?

No, to avoid any potential conflict of interest or appearance of favoritism for any particular equipment manufacturer or gas vendor we do not recommend any company over another. However, we have heard of a wide range of pricing for installation of gas detection systems. We strongly recommend that individual businesses perform their due diligence and get quotes from more than one vendor. The list of known vendors within the City of Colorado Springs that have submitted permit applications previously to the Division of the Fire Marshal is as follows:

  • Air Gas
  • General Air
  • Green CO2
  • NuCO2
  • MC2 Enterprises

Do the new regulations require both mechanical ventilation and gas detection?

Yes. CSFD requires both mechanical ventilation and an alarm system to be installed to ensure a single point of failure will not lead to a lack of protection. However, if ventilation is too difficult to provide (especially in existing buildings), an automatic shutoff can be provided at the gas source in lieu of the ventilation requirement. This shutoff is required to be tied into the detection system to allow the valve to actuate on the detection of gas and/or loss of power. Mechanical ventilation will require a separate mechanical permit from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

Does the gas detection system have to be monitored by a fire alarm system?

No. CSFD does not require the system to be connected to a fire alarm system.

Who can we contact at the Colorado Springs Fire Department if we have questions?

Contact Fire Protection Engineer Stefan Manning (719-385-7356/smanning@springsgov.com) with any questions or concerns.