Connecticut, Massachusetts Removing Stage II Vapor Recovery

Systems "no longer needed"; impose "unnecessary costs" on gas stations

PACIFIC, Mo. -- Gasoline dispensing facilities (GDF) in Connecticut and Massachusetts can now join the growing number of gas stations around the country permitted to decommission Stage II vapor recovery equipment, according to petroleum-dispensing company Husky Corp., Pacific, Mo.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows states to phase out Stage II systems, intended to capture gasoline fumes at the nozzle, after it ruled last year Stage II is no longer cost effective at cutting air pollution.

A bill signed into law June 18, 2013, by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy allows GDF in the state to properly decommission Stage II systems beginning immediately. All GDF must take Stage II out of service on or before July 1, 2015.

A legislative committee report said Stage II is no longer needed and imposes unnecessary costs on GDF, estimating that decommissioning would save Connecticut gas stations more than $6.6 million dollars a year in maintenance costs.

Beginning July 1, 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will allow the approximately 3,200 GDF in the state to properly decommission Stage II systems. When final regulations are in effect, gas stations will have at least two years to complete the decommissioning process.

The EPA ruled in 2012 that most vehicles are now equipped with Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) systems. Authorities in Connecticut point out that the most widely used Stage II system, called Vacuum Assist, is incompatible with ORVR-equipped vehicles and that refueling at vacuum assist fuel pumps can actually cause an increase in emissions.

In addition, Massachusetts DEP officials have proposed Stage II regulatory revisions that all GDF must install a California Air Resources Board Enhanced Vapor Recovery (CARB EVR) Stage I Pressure Vacuum Vent Valve and CARB Stage I EVR rotatable product and vapor adaptors. Husky offers the Model 5885 Pressure/Vacuum Vent to fuel marketers seeking the best product to address this requirement.

The EPA estimates the 30,600 GDF outside the state of California would save $91 million by decommissioning Stage II equipment. Fuel marketers are advised to check with the proper agency in their region to learn about the status of the Stage II vapor recovery program.