ECS Eclipse News

Northeastern US States move forward with Phase-out of Stage II Vapor Recovery

January 9, 2012 (comments: 0)

If your gasoline dispensing facility is subject to Stage II Vapor Recovery regulations, the remaining days for your Stage II vapor recovery system may be numbered.   As you may have read or heard, some states have already changed their regulations to eliminate the requirement for Stage II Vapor Recovery.


The requirement for new vehicles in the USA to be equipped with On-board Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) systems is leading to the elimination of Stage II Vapor Recovery requirements.   To explain briefly, Stage II systems capture gasoline vapor during vehicle fueling and return the emissions to the gasoline storage tank.  ORVR equipment also controls the release of hydrocarbon emissions during vehicle fueling by collecting the vapor into a canister in the vehicle.  Therefore, the amount of displaced gasoline vapors meant to be captured by Stage II Vapor Recovery systems is being eliminated as more vehicles equipped with ORVR replace older vehicles.  Additionally, the two systems are actually incompatible with each other since use of Stage II Vapor Recovery on a vehicle equipped with ORVR can actually cause more emissions to be released into the atmosphere. 


Therefore, states in the Northeastern US have begun using several EPA criteria to classify that ORVR is in “widespread use” throughout their state.  These states have begun to phase-out or discontinue the requirement for Stage II vapor recovery systems at gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs).   The phase-out of Stage II vapor recovery is good news for GDF owners and operators because the Stage II systems can be complicated and require periodic testing and upkeep that is expensive.


The state of Connecticut is currently moving forward with steps to repeal their requirements (see ECS Eclipse article dated January 3, 2012: 

Other states have already amended their regulations to phase-out Stage II systems.  Here are details for some Northeastern US states that have regulations updated to allow discontinuing Stage II.


Chapter 118 of the state of Maine’s air rules was amended on April 3, 2011.  Stage II requirements have been repealed as of January 1, 2012.  GDFs with Stage II must discontinue the use of and/or remove the Stage II system by January 1, 2013, in compliance with Appendix A of Chapter 118.  Previous rule amendments allowed that new facilities constructed on or after June 30, 2008 and facilities that exceeded the throughput requirements which would have made them subject to Stage II after January 1, 2008, did not need to install Stage II systems. 


In New Hampshire, changes to Env-Wm 1404.17 were effective on November 29, 2011.  New facilities constructed after January 1, 2012 or facilities where Stage II equipment had not already been installed, are no longer required to install Stage II systems.  Stage II systems can be decommissioned starting after January 1, 2012, and must be decommissioned by December 22, 2015. 


The state of Vermont enacted a law in 2009 (10 V.S.A. 583) that authorizes the phase-out of Stage II systems.  New facilities that began operation after May 1, 2009 and facilities that did not exceed the throughput threshold (requiring Stage II installation) before the 2009 calendar year were not required to install Stage II systems.   Owners or operators can discontinue the use of their Stage II systems after January 1, 2013.   The systems must then be properly decommissioned by January 1, 2015, although the DEC encourages decommissioning to be done immediately after discontinuing the system.  Early phase-out is allowed, but only in the cases where “significant excavation” is done or if all gasoline dispensers are replaced with dispensers that support triple data encryption standard usage to comply with payment card industry standards.  Agency approval is required for early phase-out.


The state of New York has not yet repealed their Stage II requirements.  However, the DEC issued a directive stating that the agency will use discretion in enforcement and will not issue violations for failure to comply with Stage II requirements at gasoline dispensing facilities that did not have a Stage II system prior to January 1, 2011 but were subject to the requirements after that date or for facilities that decommission their existing Stage II system after January 1, 2011 by following the procedure in Appendix A of the agency’s directive.


In order to decommission a Stage II system in one of these states, you must follow the state’s required procedures and approved methods.   Generally, the agencies require advance notice or request for permission to decommission.  Testing will be required and the Stage II piping is usually disconnected from the tank.  The Stage II equipment, such as hanging hardware and pressure vacuum caps, must be replaced.  The final step usually involves notification and/or submitting test reports to the agency.


Something to remember is that once a facility’s Stage II system has been decommissioned, gasoline dispensing facilities would then be subject to the federal National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) - 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart CCCCCC.   There would be additional equipment and sometimes testing requirements (dependent on gasoline throughput) associated with this regulation.


For more information, visit the following links:

ME:  (Chapter 118)





- Megan Kazmierczak

Senior Compliance Manager



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