Vapors are emitted during the storage and distribution of gasoline. Gas vapors contain air toxics such as benzene, a known carcinogen, and produce smog. DEQ regulations require that Oregon's service stations, gasoline transporters, bulk tanks and terminals have equipment to capture gas vapors. These regulations protect the health of employees and the public, conserve fuel, prevent spills and contamination, and prevent the malfunction of vapor recovery systems installed on newer vehicles.
Seeing gasoline vapors
Seeing Gasoline Vapors – 2006 Video courtesy KGW News Channel 8
Seeing Gasoline Vapors, 2006 video (courtesy KGW News Channel 8))
Gasoline terminals and bulk tank facilities
Gasoline terminals and bulk tank facilities are subject to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants rules put into law by the U.S. EPA and adopted by DEQ (OAR 340 Division 244). DEQ incorporates these requirements into air quality permits. The goal of the requirements is to capture vapors while transferring gasoline between storage tanks, tanker trucks, rail cars or marine vessels.
The transport of gasoline in tanker trucks is subject to Oregon law (OAR 340 Division 232) and is incorporated into DEQ's tanker certification program. When picking up gasoline at a terminal, tankers must display DEQ issued stickers showing they have passed an annual leak test. DEQ also requires tankers to connect vapor recovery equipment when delivering gasoline at dispensing facilities.
Gasoline dispensing facilities
Gas stations and other dispensing facilities are subject to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants rules put into law by the U.S. EPA and adopted by DEQ (OAR 340 Division 232, 242, and 244). When the Environmental Quality Commission adopted them into state rules, they chose to adopt more stringent rules, requiring smaller dispensing facilities to be included. The goal of this rule is to capture vapors while transferring gasoline from tanker trucks into storage tanks and is referred to as Stage I vapor controls. These requirements are incorporated into new air quality permits administered by DEQ.
Portland Metro area gas stations are subject to a second set of state rules (OAR 340 Division 242). These requirements are incorporated into air quality permits administered by DEQ and are being modified to a different type of permit to be more consistent with other facilities. The goal of this rule is to capture vapors while transferring gasoline from the pump to an individual vehicle. This is referred to as Stage II vapor controls. Cars manufactured after 1998 have canisters built in to automatically capture vapors.