Just to keep their day-to-day operation running smoothly, retail fuel site operators have a lot of demands placed on their time and attention. The number and variety of those demands can increase tenfold if the fuel site also includes a convenience-store offering.
Therefore, not many have the time or depth of knowledge to stay compliant with the complete menu of local, state and federal regulations. This creates a Catch-22 situation for the fuel site operator: know and adhere to a dizzying array of regulatory statutes – many of which are open to regular revision – in a time-crunched atmosphere, or risk running afoul of the regulators and face possible fines or shutdowns.
Realizing the pressure that fuel-site operators are under to not only optimize business performance, but also stay true to the strict set of rules that govern the operation of their sites, the manufacturers of fuel-dispensing and storage systems and equipment have made great strides in developing components that meet specific regulatory demands.
Staying Ahead is Staying Compliant
A perfect, and recent, example of this compliance struggle occurred in 2018. On October 13 of that year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Revising Underground Storage Tank Regulations – Revisions to Existing Requirements and New Requirements for Secondary Containment and Operator Training; Final Rule (40 CFR Parts 280 and 281)” was scheduled to go into full effect. The regulation created new standards and strengthened existing ones regarding the testing and maintenance of new or existing underground storage tank (UST) systems and their components.
In the weeks and months leading up to this deadline, and acknowledging the strain this new regulation could put on fuel retailers who had to get their sites into compliance, OPW created Built For The Test, a program that highlighted the full range of OPW products that had been engineered to meet the tenets of 40 CFR Parts 280 and 281. Specifically, a proprietary Built For The Test brochure listed the roster of EPA-approved OPW tank sump, multiport, overfill-prevention valves, spill containers and low-profile sump technologies that could help ease or eliminate the strain on fuel retailers who needed to comply with the new EPA regulations, keeping in mind that those who were found to be non-compliant were potentially subject to debilitating EPA fines.
Another thing that can put regulatory stress on retailers is the ever-growing menu of fuels that they have on offer, specifically in the alternative fuel realm. When considering the rules covering the storage and dispensing of ethanol and biodiesel, retailers must be aware that the specific ethanol and biodiesel formulations (E10, E15 and E85, along with B10, B20 and B100) all have different handling and compliance requirements.
To tackle this challenge, OPW Retail Fueling has created a series of Hanging Hardware Kits. The kits contain third-party approved hanging hardware such as swivels, breakaways, nozzles and hoses that are UL-listed and NFPA 30 approved for use with specific alternative-fuel formulations. Additionally, all of the hanging hardware kit components are shipped to the fuel site fully assembled and have been tested for continuity and performance in changing environmental conditions.
So, while from a macro view staying compliant may be an incredibly daunting task for fuel retailers, they should realize that it is not simply an us-against-them proposition, but one in which they have many allies when fighting the regulatory-compliance battle.
Visit opwglobal.com to learn how OPW Retail Fueling can help you stay compliant through its complete families of EPA-approved underground and aboveground fuel-dispensing, storage and containment equipment and systems.