July 8, 2008 |

County will inspect gas station pumps to ensure pollution control devices work

The Allegheny County Health Department is inspecting gasoline stations to make sure air pollution control devices on their pumps are properly maintained and operated.

About half of the 140 gasoline stations in the county equipped with vapor recovery systems, known as Stage II controls, will be randomly inspected this summer.

The controls, required on the newest and largest gasoline stations, protect people from toxic vapors while refueling and limit emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone, which is an air pollution concern during the summer months. As an added benefit, the recovery and recycling of gasoline vapors saves precious and costly fuel.

The inspections check for compliance with testing, labeling and record-keeping requirements and for signs of a malfunctioning vapor recovery system, including cracked or leaking hoses, defective nozzles, and a pump not automatically shutting off.

Thirty-seven gasoline stations were cited last summer and fined a total of $46,050 for pollution control equipment violations. All 37 stations were cited for having torn and potentially leaking hoses, 10 for leaky or broken caps and 7 for dented nozzles.

In addition to regular inspections, health officials will inspect a gasoline station's vapor recovery system in response to a public complaint. To report a problem, call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD.

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