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Vapor Self-Inspection Handbook
Home | Vapor Self-Inspection Handbook

Compliance Assistance
Self inspections can save you money. Help the Environment and improve Customer Satisfaction! This handbook is designed to help you know what the law is and how you can benefit from compliance. Read on, and see how easy it is to improve your working conditions, keep your boss out of trouble and make your customers happy.

Vapor Recovery System

1. Increase your profits

2. Reduce the formulation of lung damaging smog

3. Reduce you cancer risk by decreasing toxic fumes

4. Save 50 million gallons of gasoline per year in California

5. Reduce fire hazards.

6. Reduce gasoline odors.

Violating California Law is VERY COSTLY
The penalties for violating air pollution regulations can be $10,000 per day or more. Plus, your pumps may be locked out of service until they are repaired. Use this handbook to help you inspect your equipment daily to be sure you are in compliance. Remember, the benefits of keeping you equipment in good condition is not simply avoiding penalties,.... but also provides a safer workplace, a healthier environment and greater profits.

Inspect Equipment Daily Repair or Replace Equipment -
When Necessary Teach the Public

The California Air Resources Board is asking for your help to teach the public. When a customer has a problem with the equipment, take time to check it out. In most cases, just by showing the customer the correct way to operate the equipment, the problem can be solved. By inspecting your vapor recovery equipment every day and keeping it in good working condition, you can improve customer satisfaction while cleaning up the air. If you find a problem, remove the equipment from service until you can fix or replace it.

Don't Top Off! Liquid gasoline will block the line...
When a working nozzle shuts off- The Tank is FULL. The most common cause of blocked vapor lines is customers topping off their gas tank. When a gas tank overfills, gas travels back down the vapor hose and blocks the line. Unless the line is cleared, the next customer will have trouble keeping the nozzle from automatically shutting off while pumping gas. Please warn your customers not to top off their tanks.

Protect Yourself Know the Law!
The air pollution control inspector will visit your station periodically throughout the year to conduct a complete inspection. The inspector will be checking your vapor recovery system to see if it is in good working order. This will include checking all components to see that they are certified and defect free. Also, operating instructions and a toll free pollution control district phone number must be placed in plain view of the general public.

What To Look For....Read on and See!

Replace Boots Which Have Triangular Tears
Sometimes customers catch the boot fabric on a sharp object near the gas cap. When this happens the boot fabric can tear in the shape of a triangle. Any tear larger than 1/2 inch on a side of the triangle tear means that the boot must be replaced or repaired. Generally, if you cover the tear with a penny and you can still see the tear, the boot needs to be fixed.

Slit Boots Should Be Replaced
Wear and tear may cause slits to form in the depressions of the boot fabric which will cause a vapor leak. Use your thumbs to separate the ribs of the boot to check for these slits. Replace or repair all boots that have slits one inch or larger. Its a good practice to replace any torn boot.

At Least 3/4 of the Flexible Cone Is Needed
If your vapor recovery system nozzles have flexible cones (assist system), replace any damaged flexible cones. The law requires that at least 3/4 of the flexible cone must be present when used to dispense gasoline. Examine each flexible cone daily to ensure that at least 3/4 of the circle is intact. Remember, it's best to replace any flexible cone that is damaged or partially missing.

At Least 3/4 of the Faceplate Must Make A Seal
If your vapor recovery system nozzles have faceplates (balance system), replace any damaged or warped faceplates. The law requires that at least 3/4 of the faceplate must make a good seal when used to dispense gasoline. Examine each nozzle faceplate daily to ensure that a good seal will occur and that at least 3/4 of the faceplate is intact. Remember, it's best to replace any faceplate which does not provide a good seal with the automobile gas tank.

Wire or Clamp Placement Is Critical!
On some vapor recovery nozzles equipped with a faceplate (not a flexible cone) the wire or clamp on the upper portion of the boot attaches the boot snugly to a "check valve" inside. If the wire or clamp is too low, the valve will not open and the nozzle will click off. If the wire or clamp is too high, the valve will stay open and vapors will escape. Always make sure that the wires and clamps are placed properly.

Replace Any Flattened, Kinked or Torn Hoses!
Hoses that are flattened or kinked will restrict the vapor return line. When this happens the vapors cannot return to your underground tank and are therefore released into the air. Torn hoses allow the vapors to escape out of the tear. Also, hoses that are kinked, flattened or full of gasoline cause the nozzle to constantly shut off while fueling. This makes customers very unhappy. Check your hoses daily and replace any damaged lines.

Remove... Malfunctioning Nozzles From Service
If a nozzle fails to shut off... Remove It From Service Immediately! Sometimes the interior components of the nozzle can fail. When a micro-switch is broken the nozzle will not automatically shut off. This can cause overfilling of the tank and, as with topping off, result in liquid gas blocking the vapor line. Remove these malfunctioning nozzles from service and get them repaired.

Watch and Listen to Your Gauges!
Make sure your process unit (if you have one) is operating while gas is being pumped. For Hirt, Hasstech and similar systems, both process lights on the control panel must be lit. This will indicate that the power is on to the system and that the pilot light is lit. When a customer pumps gas, you should hear a "whirring" sound and a hiss of combustion outside at the process unit. For a Hirt system, vapors are often collected using pressure from the air compressor; take the time to see that the pressure gauge is within the normal range.

Is The Part Certified?
Call your Distributor or the ARB.
Make sure your vapor recovery components are certified. If you cannot determine if a part your are using is certified for use with your system, call and find out. First, contact your company supplier. If you still aren't sure, contact your local air pollution control district or the Air Resources Board. Remember the use of uncertified components subjects you to a fine of $10,000 per day or more.

Look For The Manufacturer's Logo
The California Air Resources Board must certify all equipment used on your vapor recovery system to ensure that the components work properly and do not cause a fire hazard. The use of equipment which has not been certified by the State is against the law and you may be subject to a large fine. It is your responsibility to make sure all of your equipment is certified. Look for the manufacturer's logo and the State Fire Marshal sticker.

Don't Break The Chain...
The reason your station is equipped with a vapor recovery system, is to collect vapors from your customers' gasoline tanks and return them to the refinery to be reprocessed into gasoline. This process involves your customers, you, the delivery truck which delivers your gasoline and the facilities where the delivery trucks got the gasoline. If at any location along this chain, someone fails to use the vapor recovery or forgets to keep it in good working order, these harmful vapors escaped and contribute to our air pollution and toxic problems.

Check Your: Tanks, Seals & Caps!
Check to be sure your seals are in good operating condition and your caps are on the underground tanks. This is especially important after a gasoline delivery is made. Also, be sure the driver of the delivery truck hooks up both the gasoline line and the vapor line.

Give Your System The "Once Over" Daily
Every morning when you unlock the pumps, or better yet at each shift change, give your vapor recovery system the "once over." Check each piece of vapor recovery equipment for wear and damage making sure everything is in good working condition. Identify any potential problems and take action . Replace or repair defective components immediately. Do your part to help yourself, your customers, and the environment.

Self Inspection Checklist
This self inspection checklist is a good way to protect yourself from large penalties and loss of business. This checklist used with your vapor recovery handbook will help you prepare for your periodic air pollution control inspection. The information contained in the handbook and checklist covers the basic requirements you need to know. For further information, your should read your air pollution control permit and ask your inspector any specific questions your may have about your specific vapor recovery system. Experience tells us that the best way to comply with air pollution regulations, is to know the law and inspect your equipment daily.

Reprinted with permission from California Air Resource Board, Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95814

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