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News Feb 13, 2012 - 10:13 AM

DEEP begins phase-out of vapor control systems

By Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

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The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that Connecticut is taking the first step toward phasing out the systems on gasoline pumps designed to capture gasoline fumes – known as “Stage II Gasoline Vapor Recovery Systems” – which have been a fixture on gasoline pumps here since 1992.

Motorists would recognize these vapor recovery systems as the rubber sleeves over the gas pump nozzle – although newer gas pumps use a vacuum system that works without the rubber sleeve. These systems were intended to capture gasoline fumes from gasoline tanks that are released every time we fill the tank. Gasoline fumes are a form of air pollution that can contribute to the formation of smog. Cars and trucks manufactured since 1998 have built-in gasoline vapor recovery equipment. As these newer vehicles replace older vehicles without this technology, there is a decreasing need for gasoline pumps to be equipped with vapor recovery systems.

The first step in this effort to phase out the systems on gasoline pumps designed to capture gasoline fumes is to end the requirements for the installation of these systems at newly constructed gasoline stations, providing a cost savings of approximately $33,000 for an average size station. Future efforts will include phasing out vapor recovery systems at existing gasoline stations, and refocusing efforts to control vapor losses from gasoline tanker trucks – known as the “Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery Program.”

“The responsible elimination of these now obsolete vapor recovery systems is a good example of how we are striving to leverage the benefits of new technology to reduce the regulatory costs of our clean air programs,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “These and other efforts to modernize the regulatory process – while still maintaining high environmental standards – will help make Connecticut a less costly place to do business and a better place to live.”

As part of DEEP’s ongoing efforts to identify unnecessary regulatory burdens and at the direction of the Legislature during the recent jobs session, the agency undertook an intensive study of gasoline vapor recovery in Connecticut. Draft findings announced today show the gasoline vapor control program is rapidly becoming obsolete and will cease providing benefits as early as the summer of 2012. The draft report is available here. As a result, DEEP plans to phase out the use of this control technology.

DEEP will begin working with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and interested stakeholders to review the findings in the draft report. DEEP will solicit comment on the draft report, evaluate decommissioning options and recommend a preferred approach. As part of this effort, DEEP will also examine potential improvements to the Stage I program.

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