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Changes to Stage I and II Vapor Recovery in Massachusetts

August 9, 2012 (comments: 0)

Changes to Stage I and II Vapor Recovery in Massachusetts

UST owners or operators in Massachusetts should have recently received a postcard from the MassDEP regarding changes to Stage II Vapor Recovery Requirements.  The reason for the change is that on May 16, 2012, the US EPA issued a rule allowing states to phase out their Stage II Vapor Recovery programs.  You can read a full letter about the Massachusetts Stage II Enforcement Discretion from the MassDEP Commissioner here:

The Massachusetts change was effective July 9, 2012 and the MassDEP is now using enforcement discretion to no longer require “installation Stage II Vapor Recovery systems under 310 CMR 7.24(6) at the following facilities:

  1. A new motor vehicle fuel dispensing facility dispensing gasoline for the first time.
  2. An existing facility where:
    1. there is excavation below a shear valve or tank pad to repair or replace a Stage II system or an underground storage tank; or
    2. 50 percent or more of the dispensers are replaced; and

The entire Stage II system is fully decommissioned in accordance with applicable guidance.”

Unless one of the conditions described above occurs, owners and operators must continue to operate and maintain their Stage II system in accordance with regulations.  If the Stage II system is decommissioned or in the case of a new facility without Stage II, owners and operators must comply with Stage I Vapor Recovery requirements. The Stage I requirements include performing visual inspections, maintaining records, submitting annual compliance certifications and paying annual fees.  Annual Stage I testing (pressure decay, vapor tie and pressure/vacuum vent test) must also be performed.

In speaking with the MassDEP, we learned that the Stage I program will be very similar to the existing Stage II program.  The MassDEP is still in process of developing the forms and process, but the annual compliance certification will be a Form C for Stage I, like the Stage II Annual In-Use Compliance Certification Form C.  For new installations or if the Stage II system was decommissioned during excavation (see condition 2.a. above), a Stage I Form A will be required.  For sites where Stage II is decommissioned, the MassDEP plans to use the existing Stage II certification due date to act as the Stage I annual compliance certification due date.

The MassDEP’s frequently asked questions ( can provide further details about the process for decommissioning Stage II systems, documentation required for decommissioning and about the Stage I Vapor Recovery requirements. 


- Megan Kazmierczak, Senior Compliance Manager

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