PA DEP Suspending Certain Small Gasoline Tank Vapor Leak Monitoring

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the August 20 PA Bulletin suspending enforcement of vapor leak monitoring requirements for small gasoline storage tanks with Stage I vapor recovery systems in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh-Beaver regions.

Section 129.61a of DEP’s regulations requires the owner or operator of certain gasoline storage tanks located at gasoline dispensing facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington and Westmoreland Counties to perform specified vapor leak monitoring procedures for Stage I vapor recovery system components and other gasoline dispensing components.

Section 129.61a(g)(1)(iii) requires the owner or operator of a subject gasoline dispensing facility to monitor the condition of the gasoline storage tank automatic tank gauge cap by performing an inspection after each gasoline tank truck delivery to verify that the automatic tank gauge cap is tightly sealed.

The intended purpose of the requirement specified in §?129.61a(g)(1)(iii) is to ensure that the automatic tank gauge cap has not been compromised during a gasoline tank truck delivery.

The automatic tank gauge cap, if not closed and tightly sealed, prevents proper operation and vapor capture by the Stage I vapor recovery system.

The Department has determined that the likelihood that the automatic tank gauge would be compromised during a gasoline tank truck delivery is low. Verifying the status of the automatic tank gauge cap after each gasoline tank truck delivery is problematic.

Many of these gauges are only accessible beneath a heavy sump lid, some of which require special tools to open, or can be otherwise difficult to access.

This exercise of enforcement discretion does not affect owner or operator compliance with other existing requirements.

The Department’s exercise of enforcement discretion of §?129.61a(g)(1)(iii) does not protect an owner or operator of a subject gasoline dispensing facility from the possibility of legal challenge by third persons under §?129.61a.

This provision had required that the Stage l equipment be inspected by the operator after every delivery of product to the tank to make sure it was in working order.

PPA worked to bring member concerns to the Department regarding the burden this inspection requirement would put on the owner and their employees.

Thank you to the DEP Storage Tank and Air Quality Divisions for revisiting this issue and suspending enforcement.

It is our understanding that the Department intends to formally change the regulation-likely to a monthly inspection process. There will be a formal comment period in the regulatory adoption process for companies to express their feelings regarding that revision.

This is a significant victory for PPA and its member companies in the  Southwest and Southeast counties of the state.

For more information or questions concerning Stage I requirements, contact Susan Foster, Division of Compliance and Enforcement, Bureau of Air Quality, at  or (717) 772-3369.

Please contact Ted Harris–— if you have questions.

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