extinguishers can and do lose charge over time, they
require inspection on a regular basis.
National ;re codes require ;re extinguishers to have
a minimum rating of 40-B:C and to be within 100 feet of
all fuel dispensers and storage tank ;ll openings. Most
;re extinguisher violations occur when an owner assumes
two 20-B:C units are equivalent to one 40-B:C unit. Not
true. The ;re code is speci;c on this point. A 40-B:C size
allows continuous application of the suppressant
for a speci;c period of time. With two 20-B:C units,
the user would need to exhaust the contents of the ;rst
extinguisher and then return for the second one. This
would allow a short period of time for a ;re to intensify
during the switchover and, therefore, is much less effective
than one continuous application with a 40-B:C unit.
Card-operated, unattended dispensing facilities
require an accessible ;re extinguisher 24 hours a day.
Sometimes extinguishers at these facilities are a target
for thieves. Whether as a result of theft or inadvertence,
the absence of an extinguisher will lead to a notice of
violation for the owner or operator.
Even with the best maintenance and visual inspection
practices, minor leaks can occur. Most leaks we ;nd are
in Class 2 product dispensers—and for good reason. Oily
products, such as diesel and kerosene, stick around for
a while. Unlike Class 1 products that evaporate quickly,
small amounts of Class 2 products can stay and accumulate. For this reason, minor leaks in Class 2 dispensing
equipment come in as seventh on the list of most common
violations. Note, however, that the visibility of these leaks
doesn’t always suggest a major problem. In most cases, a
visible Class 2 leak is no more serious than an invisible
Class 1 leak.
All aboveground storage tank systems in Missouri,
whether pressurized or suction operated, must have an
annual line tightness test. There has been some confusion
regarding this requirement because it differs from what
is required for underground storage systems (USTs). In
the case of USTs, only pressurized systems must have an
annual line tightness test. Underground suction systems
require tests only every three years.
Dispenser hoses are a frequent violation for the same
reasons as warning signs. Extremely cold and hot weather
conditions, coupled with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet
rays, take their toll on rubber components. Hoses become
cracked and brittle, causing the outer protective layer to
break away and making the hoses more likely to fail under
pressure. No real test or measure exists for determining
the point at which a hose should be replaced. The time for
replacement is a judgment call to be made by an inspector
or owner/operator. If visible signs of delaminating or
cracking are present, however, it is always best to err on
the side of caution. In even the best-case scenario, hoses
showing signs of deterioration have less than six months
of service life remaining.
Questionable dispenser hose condition.
Left: Minor leaks in the dispensing system; Right: Not-so-minor
leaks in the dispensing system.
Left: Line tightness test being performed; Right: Line tightness test
equipment not removed after testing.
#7 MINOR LEAKS IN THE DISPENSING SYSTEM
#6 NO ANNUAL LINE TIGHTNESS TEST
#5 UNSAFE DISPENSER HOSES