Celebrity appearances, more than 1,200 exhibits and cool new products: These are just a few reasons why the upcoming NACS Show will be the biggest event of the year for the convenience-store and retail fueling industry.
But they’re also some of the reasons why it’s easy to get distracted at the show. So before loading up on energy drinks and taking a selfie with your favorite celebrity, here are six retail-fueling topics that can improve the safety at your site and possibly boost your bottom line.
In July 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new regulations regarding the inspection, testing and maintenance of underground storage tank (UST) systems at retail fueling sites. Armed with the demands of these new regulations, the manufacturers of UST systems and their components have responded with the following improvements that have been designed to optimize both performance and the ability to meet the new testing and inspection guidelines.
- Spill containers: Next-generation spill containers have been designed so that any damaged or compromised units can be repaired quickly without needing to disrupt the forecourt to access them.
- Double-wall spill containers: These spill containers satisfy the new EPA regulations because they can be inspected by testing the interstitial space between the two walls of the container as a way to ensure that no product leaks have occurred. They do this without the need of costly and timely hydrostatic testing.
- Overfill-prevention valves: Traditional overfill valves needed to be pulled out of the tank to be inspected, but newly developed technology allows the valve to remain in the tank during inspection.
- Composite multiports: Multiports are installed over the top of tank sumps to allow access to the tank top. New designs ensure water-tight performance.
- Sump entry fittings: Next-generation entry fittings create a positive and secure seal to the sump wall by using rigid composite materials instead of the rubber materials that were used in the past.
Have you considered composite covers? Recognizing the shortcomings of steel covers, the industry has experienced growing acceptance of access covers that are constructed of highly engineered glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) composites. These covers weigh only one-third that of their steel counterparts, while maintaining a strength-to-weight ratio that allows them to absorb the abuse that occurs on the forecourt. Also, composite covers don’t corrode when exposed to the elements and have a low coefficient of expansion.
Next-generation tank sumps have been redesigned with new lids to ensure water tightness. In addition, you can now find tank sumps that have been engineered without conduit entry fittings. These innovative sump enhancements will be on full display at the NACS Show.
4. Choosing the right equipment for higher ethanol blends
The EPA has begun recommending higher biofuel percentages, with E15 and B10 increasingly common (and E85 standard with flex-fuel vehicles), with talk of bumps in the U.S. mandate to E25 and B20. Many manufacturers of equipment of both below-ground and above-ground equipment (specifically nozzles, swivels and breakaways) may claim their equipment is compatible with these higher blends of ethanol and bio-diesel, but Underwriters Laboratories (UL) now has listings and standards for the fuel blends. As retailers look around the NACS Show for equipment to meet these needs, they would be wise to seek out equipment that is truly listed by UL.
Hanging hardware falls into that category of products that will not last forever—think of vehicle brakes, light bulbs, faucets and door handles—but no one can know with any certainty when any of them will fail. After consulting with various third-party testing organizations, a coalition of hanging-hardware manufacturers announced that the optimum life cycle for a fueling nozzle was approximately five years, and that they would begin putting “remove-by” dates on their products.
Remove-by dates are a pre-emptive way to generally let site operators know when the component may not work as designed anymore, therefore alerting them that they should consider replacing it before a negative event can occur. If you’re using a nozzle, swivel or breakaway without a remove-by date—which some manufacturers continue to provide—how do you know if you’re using a safe product?
Site operators who use equipment with remove-by dates are letting the world know that they are invested in protecting the safety of site personnel, the environment and, most important, their customers.
Owners and operators of retail fueling sites face a laundry list of daily challenges, but one of the most crucial items is knowing that the correct fuel is being delivered into the correct UST during deliveries.
Unfortunately, there have been many instances where the wrong fuel has been put in the wrong UST—an occurrence known as a “cross-drop” that cross-contaminates the existing fuel in the UST. Whether the fuel cost $2 or $4 a gallon, it can lead to thousands of dollars being spent needlessly to rectify the error. And worst of all, it can destroy the site’s reputation in the community.
Innovative technology, such as Civacon’s Cross-Over Prevention System (COPS), has been developed to remove human error from the retail site delivery process.
The OPW team is looking forward to helping you address these retail fueling challenges and develop solutions at the 2017 NACS Show. Come see us at Booth 4120.
And if you have questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
This post is sponsored by OPW