What is a Vapour Recovery System?

As a petrol station owner, you are responsible for the impact your service station has on the surrounding environment. This impact not only includes potential hazards such as fuel leaks that may impact immediate soil or groundwater, but fumes and gases given off by your petrol station as well.

Without proper intervention, these vapours can have a detrimental impact on air quality and can be harmful to our atmosphere.

What is a vapour recovery system?

Though essential for many petrol stations, many of our members may not be entirely aware of what a vapour recovery or VR system is, or what function it serves. These systems are made up of equipment designed to catch petrol vapours before they enter the atmosphere. There are two points at which such a system is necessary.

The first, called a VR1, captures vapours from storage tanks upon fuel delivery. The second, or VR2, catches vapours released when customers refuel at the pump. Though these systems have existed since 1986, Australia began expanding the mandate of vapour recovery systems on a wider scale in 2010.

To determine whether or not your business is required to install this equipment, it is necessary to be aware of the policy regarding VR systems in your state or territory.

Why is it important for my petrol station to maintain a VR system?

As a result of years of studies done by services such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it has been determined that vapours released by petroleum fuel have a measurable impact on air quality.

Petrol fuel releases vapours which contain volatile organic compounds (VOC), chemicals that increase air pollution and smog, therefore negatively impacting human health.

To do your part not only in reducing your business’s impact on the environment, but also to maintain compliance with local regulations, it’s critical for your station to implement VR systems when necessary.

Vapour Recovery Systems by Region

Mandates and requirements regarding vapour recovery systems varies by region. While some service stations may be required to have both a VR1 and VR2 system, others may only have a mandate for a VR1 system, or vice versa. Restrictions are often contingent on factors such as size, location, and amount of fuel sold at your petrol station. Details regarding your regions requirements can be found by checking your local regulations.

For petrol stations requiring vapour recovery systems, there may also be guidance on how to log and report vapour recovery data. As with most maintenance systems at your petrol station, keeping a log of function and weekly readings provides transparency and written record of compliance.

Though a legal requirement for the installation of the system may not currently apply to your business, it is likely one may be introduced which impacts your petrol station in the future. For this reason, it is often a good idea to install a VR1 and VR2 system at your service station regardless of local requirements. As a business owner, installing a vapour recovery system allows you to be confident that you are reducing the negative impact on the planet and collective health.

If you need further help and guidance with vapour recovery systems in your region, feel free to contact Dan Armes from ServoPro on 0490 415 063 or [email protected]

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