Industry Moves Closer to Standardized Chemical Vapor Recovery

The tank truck industry moved closer to adopting a standardized chemical vapor recovery system for cargo tanks during a special meeting October 29 in Chicago IL. The standard could be finalized and published as a recommended practice (RP) by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) by April 2002.

The objective of the proposed vapor recovery standard is to cover 80% of the chemical products transported in stainless steel cargo tanks, according to John Cannon, Brenner Tank Trailer Inc. He led a point-by-point review of the TTMA draft RP during the special meeting, which was cosponsored by National Tank Truck Carriers, TTMA, and the American Chemistry Council.

A DOT407 tank trailer equipped with vapor recovery was on display during the meeting. Vapor recovery systems from Betts Industries, Fort Vale, and Girard Equipment were shown with the trailer.

The RP will apply only to new-build cargo tanks. Retrofit guidelines for existing tanks would be covered in a TTMA technical bulletin.

Efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop nationwide vapor recovery requirements for volatile organic compounds prompted the three associations to begin work on the RP. The EPA push has stalled, but companies involved in tank truck operations believe it is important to be proactive and have moved ahead.

“We don’t know what is going to happen with the EPA’s proposed rule,” said Cliff Harvison, NTTC. “In the wake of September 11, all non-security issues have been preempted in Washington DC for the time being. This situation will continue for at least the next year and a half.

“However, individual states such as Texas have moved ahead with their own rules. Vapor recovery requirements are coming across this country. It’s to our benefit to have an industry standard regardless of whether chemical vapor recovery is a federal or state initiative.”

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