Building a retail fueling location with an underground system of storage tanks, piping and dispensing equipment cannot be an “out of sight, out of mind” proposition for the operator. The smallest leaks in an underground fueling system can lead to large problems for drivers, site personnel, the environment and the site operator, who can be subject to exorbitant repair, replacement, cleanup and remediation costs, with actual site shutdown a worst-case scenario.
To govern the installation and monitoring of underground fueling systems, Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) in 1995 finalized UL Standard 971 for “Safety Nonmetallic Underground Piping for Flammable Liquids.” UL971 governs the manufacture and use of “primary carrier, secondary containment, integral primary/secondary containment, normal vent and vapor recovery, nonmetallic pipe, fittings and systems (products) intended for use underground in the distribution of petroleum-based flammable and combustible liquids, alcohols and alcohol-blended fuels.”
A Cure for Compliance (and Cost) Concerns
Manufacturers responded to the regulation with an array of UL971-compliant underground fuel storage and dispensing equipment, but a true leap forward occurred in 2008 when OPW introduced the patented Loop System™. The Loop System consists of a collection of underground fueling, equipment that works together to create an efficient and cost-effective fuel dispensing network in which all service can be performed aboveground.
Specifically, the introduction of the system brought the following benefits to its users:
- All piping is accessible through sumps that are shallow and can be accessed from the surface, meaning no concrete needs to be broken, removed and repoured when component inspection, maintenance or replacement is needed.
- Continuous, flexible piping eliminates connection points buried in the ground.
- Pipe couplers are made with stainless steel and have built-in test ports for easier monitoring.
- Piping can be removed, checked and replaced through the sump opening without the need to remove the dispenser from the island.
- Rigid double-sided entry fittings installed in the factory, not fabricated in the field, prevent fuel leaks into the ground, reducing the chance that the environment or groundwater supplies will become contaminated.
- Dispenser sumps come pre-assembled and tested from the factory with entry fittings, stabilizer bars and impact valves. This decreases installation time and eliminates any field fabrication or use of riser pipes insuring a reliable installation every time.
All told, the Loop System, which is also UL-listed for use in Canada, was a revolutionary innovation – the fueling industry’s first true UL971-compliant plug-and-play fuel delivery system. The all-in-one Loop System combined hassle-free component inspection with streamlined maintenance and repair, all without needing to excavate the site – and all at one cost-effective price point with no need to search for and purchase different system components from different suppliers.
In 2019, OPW Retail Fueling built on the well-established success of the Loop System by introducing the High-Flow Loop System for use at high-volume truck stops with 10-20 fueling lanes and so-called “hybrid” convenience stores that feature traditional automobile fueling islands and several truck fueling lanes. The High-Flow Loop System features high-speed dispensers and larger piping, couplings and entry fittings that allow the high flow rates that are required for efficient truck fueling.
Visit opwglobal.com to learn how OPW Retail Fueling can help you achieve and stay in compliance through its Loop System and the rest of its UL-compliant underground fuel dispensing, storage and containment equipment and systems.