ECS Eclipse News

EPA: New Regulations Allow Recognition of “Widespread Use” and Stage II Vapor Recovery Removal

May 17, 2012 (comments: 0)

The US EPA announced  that effective May 16th, 2012, the phasing out and decommissioning of Stage II Vapor Collection systems  that collects vapors during motor vehicle gasoline fueling may be allowed.

During the early 1990’s, due to the concerns of impacting the Air Quality, areas classified by the EPA as Serious, Severe,  and Extreme Non Attainment  for Ozone, Gasoline Dispensing Facilities (GDFs) with high throughput were required to install and maintain these Stage II Vapor Collection Systems.

These Vapor Collection systems  and their required presence at GDFs would have remained the same except that in 1998, automobile manufacturing companies began to install “onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery” (ORVR) systems directly into cars.

Under the Clean Air Act, once these vehicles equipped with ORVR were in “widespread use”, non attainment areas classified as Serious and above, could begin decommissioning their Stage II systems.  The empirical percentage of vehicles with  ORVR as expressed by the term “Widespread Use”  was determined to be 70% by EPA.

Based upon EPA’s modeling and statistical data profiling,   EPA determined that  by April 2012 timeline, 75% of gasoline will be  dispensed to ORVR equipped vehicles.

In the final analysis, EPA has determined that ORVR is in “widespread use” therefore allowing states to begin modifying their regulations and SIP programs  to remove the requirements of Stage II systems.

However, removing the Stage II equipment in certain states that fall under the OTR (ozone transport region) (stretching from Virginia to Maine), can be more problematic in that those states must revise their SIP (State Implementation Program) in a way that they must implement OTHER measures that are capable of maintaining emissions reductions COMPARABLE to that was achieved by the Stage II systems.

It appears that these new EPA regulations seem to indicate, that it probably would allow removal of Stage II systems if ORVR by itself  achieves equal or greater reduction compared to what Stage II had demonstrated to achieve based on the old SIP programs with Stage II systems alone.

I believe this should allow for even the most stringent states in the OTR to move forward to implement a removal program due to the fact that ORVR alone has demonstrated that it exceeds emissions reductions above that of the older Stage II systems.

To view the EPA regulations 40 CFR Part 51 for more specifics please click here


- Joel Hershey, Director of ECS Eclipse


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