The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were established after air quality studies in the U.S. showed a variety of air quality problems.

Why is Air Quality so Important?

It has been estimated that about 90 million Americans live in areas with poor air quality. Air pollutants are found all over the United States and can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage.

The type of pollutants in the air that can cause harm to individuals and the environment are called “criteria air pollutants.” The EPA began regulating criteria air pollutants by first developing health-based criteria (science-based guidelines) as the basis for setting permissible levels.Primary Standards protect health.

Secondary Standards prevent environmental and property damage.

A geographic area that meets or exceeds the primary standards is called an “attainment area.” A geographical area that does not meet the primary standard is called a “non-attainment” area.

Areas that showed an excess of ground bound ozone were classified as to their severity. These non-attainment areas, are areas that the government has classified as having a moderate to extreme air quality problem. These areas were ordered to utilize Stage II Vapor Recovery as one method to control the ground bound ozone.

What is Stage II Vapor Recovery?

Stage II vapor recovery is an effective control technology to reduce the gasoline vapor emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The stage II vapor recovery system used at a gas station is the gasoline dispenser. The components on that dispenser collect the vapors displaced into the atmosphere from refueling an automobile at the vehicle’s fill pipe and return them to the underground storage tank.

The California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) approves or disapproves vapor recovery systems used at gasoline dispensing facilities. C.A.R.B. will issue an Executive Order (E.O.) number, which governs the configuration of a vapor recovery system. The E.O. will refer to specific testing requirements for that system.

The equipment and the system used to recover the VOCs and HAPs must be periodically checked by service personnel to insure that it is functioning properly. Tanknology offers a full range of testing services to assist an underground storage tank owner in complying with the requirements of their state’s environmental office for periodic testing.

As an underground storage tank owner, you will also need to provide documentation to state regulators that you are visually inspecting and maintaining the stage II system components on a regular basis to ensure that there is not damage to the system components.

Tanknology’s training division offers owner/operator training to assist station personnel in the proper operations and maintenance of Stage I and Stage II vapor recovery systems and equipment.

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