The purpose of Stage I Vapor Recovery Systems at gasoline dispensing facilities ("GDFs") is to route gasoline vapors into the tanker truck without releasing them into the atmosphere. The Stage I system, consisting of sealed product fill and vapor apparatuses or both in one apparatus, is activated by a connecting hose that allows the transfer of vapors from the underground or aboveground storage tank back to the tanker truck's empty tank compartment while the tanker truck unloads gasoline product(s) into the storage tank(s). All connections are tightly fitted and properly sealed to prevent the escape of vapors.
When using Stage I Vapor Recovery equipment, the escape of gasoline vapors is held to a minimum, helping to limit the escape of pollutants that contribute to air pollution. In addition, they are able to save money in the long run by having the majority of gasoline vapors retained in the tanks. Some of the "captured" vapors are converted back into the liquid gasoline state while the rest remains in the vapor state. The Stage I Vapor Recovery program in Illinois reduces volatile hydrocarbon emissions by nearly 5 tons per day in the Chicago Nonattainment Area and a half a ton per day in the Metro East St. Louis Nonattainment Area.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 classifies the Chicago metropolitan area as a "severe" nonattainment level of air pollution. It means that there is a significant amount of air pollution capable of causing ground level ozone, and it affects a majority of people who have respiratory problems. The following counties are listed in the Chicago Nonattainment Area:
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 classifies the Metro East St. Louis metropolitan area as a "moderate" nonattainment level of air pollution. It means that there is only a moderate level of air pollution capable of causing ground level ozone and it may affect people with respiratory problems. The following counties are listed in the Metro East St. Louis Nonattainment Area:
All GDFs, whether retail or non-retail, are subject to Stage I Vapor Recovery requirements if they are located at the following counties:
GDFs located in the Chicago and Metro East St. Louis Nonattainment Areas are subject to a more stringent Stage I Vapor Recovery specification requirements. Not only do they need to have a tight connection in the product and vapor fill adaptor apparatus as well as operate a submerged loading pipe, but they are required to have a pressure/vacuum relief valve connected to each vapor vent pipe. If the vapor vent pipes have been manifolded, the open-ended vent pipe must be equipped with a pressure/vacuum relief valve. The pressure/vacuum relief valve must have the pressure and vacuum settings in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 inches water column and 6.0 to 10.0 inches water column, respectively. In addition, it has to be tested on an annual basis to determine whether they are meeting the pressure and vacuum limits.
Other GDFs located in Boone, Peoria, Rock Island, Tazewell, and Winnebago counties are not required to have pressure/vacuum relief valves on their vent pipes. Instead, they are required to have a vapor control system for fuel delivery into the tanks via tanker trucks. Minimum requirements for each facility include a submerged loading pipe and compatible vapor control devices. These devices include product/vapor fill adaptors as well as tanker truck inlet/outlet fittings. Hoses must be tightly connected to prevent any escape of gasoline vapors during a gasoline product delivery.
Stage I Vapor Recovery rules are specifically described under Section 215.583, Section 218.583, and Section 219.583, of Title 35 of the Illinois Administrative Code. For GDFs located in the Chicago Nonattainment area, they should follow rules specified under Section 218.583. For GDFs residing in the Metro East St. Louis Nonattainment Area, they should follow the rules underSection 219.583. For GDFs not located in either Chicago or Metro East St. Louis Nonattainment Area, they should follow the rules in Section 215.583.