Gasoline Vapor Recovery

What is Vapor Recovery?

Vapor recovery is the process of capturing the saturated gasoline vapors that would otherwise escape into the environment and pollute the air. There are two types of vapor recovery systems, Stage I and Stage II (sometimes referred to as Phase I and Phase II). The Weights and Measures Services Division oversees a vapor recovery program that mandates Stage I vapor recovery systems to be continuously operated and inspected annually at most fuel dispensing sites located within Area A (Phoenix Metro area). Stage I vapor recovery systems are designed to collect gasoline vapors that are displaced from the underground or above-ground gasoline storage tank when a fuel tanker truck makes a delivery. Stage II vapor recovery systems differed from Stage I by collecting gasoline vapors displaced from the vehicle fuel tank when a customer dispensed fuel from a gas pump. Stage II vapor recovery systems were once required in Area A, but have since been decommissioned and are now prohibited from use. To learn more about the Stage II decommissioning program click here.


Are You Impacted?

Yes, if you operate a gasoline dispensing site located within Area A that pumps at least 10,000 gallons of gasoline per month (vapor recovery requirements do not apply to gas stations owned and operated by tribal members on Native American reservations). If you pump less than 10,000 gallons per month, you must file a monthly Throughput Report by March 30 of each year for the previous calendar year (A.A.C. R3-7-1002(B)). You may submit your throughput report online.


Initial Installation or Major Modification of Vapor Recovery Systems 

A person shall not begin to construct a site in Area A requiring a vapor recovery system, or make a major modification to an existing vapor recovery system or component, before obtaining approval of an Authority to Construct (ATC) permit. The construction plan must be submitted to the Division for review and along with a $250 application fee. You may apply for an ATC permit online using the location's BMF (license) number. If the location does not have a BMF number, please contact Weights and Measures licensing at 602-542-3578 or [email protected]

Once the plan is approved and an ATC permit is issued, inspection of the site is required:

  • Prior to burial of vapor recovery equipment (pre-burial inspection); 
  • within 90 days of the date when the site starts gasoline sales (initial inspection);
  • and annually thereafter (annual inspection).

Inspections must be scheduled with the Division, and may be scheduled online by a licensed vapor recovery testing company. There is no fee for any inspection.


Inspection & Maintenance Logs

Locations operating Stage I or Stage II vapor recovery equipment are required to conduct regular inspections of their vapor recovery system and maintain inspection and maintenance logs. Click here for more information and to access inspection and maintenance log templates.


Annual Test

In Area A, annual vapor recovery system tests are required to ensure that the vapor recovery equipment is working properly. These tests are conducted by an Registered Service Agency (RSA) who is licensed with the Division to install, repair, and test vapor recovery equipment. The dispensing site is responsible for all testing costs associated with RSA, and there are no inspection fees required by the Division. Tests must be scheduled in advance with the Division by a licensed vapor recovery testing company using our Vapor Scheduler, and a Division investigator may witness the test. 

For Stage II vapor recovery systems, the required California Air Resources Board (CARB) test procedures include:  

  • Pressure Decay Test
  • Air to Liquid Ratio (A/L) Test
  • Liquid Blockage Test
  • Communication and Back Pressure Test
  • Pressure/Vacuum (P/V) Vent Valve Test

For Stage I vapor recovery systems, the required CARB test procedures include:

  • Pressure Decay Test
  • Tie-Tank Test
  • Pressure/Vacuum (P/V) Vent Valve Test

The Division requires that the annual test be scheduled any time during the month that is the same month the test occurred in the previous year. For example, if a location was tested on August 3, 2017, the next annual test must occur any time between August 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018.

The penalty for failing to conduct an annual vapor recovery test includes shut down of gasoline sales and/or gasoline delivery.


Compliance Inspections

In addition to the annual test, the Division may conduct unannounced compliance inspections. These inspections determine if all vapor recovery components are CARB certified and defect free, all inspection and maintenance logs are properly maintained and available for review, and all spill containment buckets are free of liquid and/or debris and functioning properly. 


Vapor Recovery Test Procedures

Sites that have not decommissioned Stage II vapor recovery equipment are required to use the following test procedures. The deadline to decommission all Stage II vapor recovery equipment is September 30, 2018.

Stage II Vapor Recovery Test Procedures:

CARB Test Procedure 201.2B Determination of Flow Versus Pressure for Equipment in Phase II Vapory Recovery Systems of Dispensing Facilities. (CARB) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.2C (Determination of Spillage of Phase II Vapor Recovery Systems) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.4 (Determination of Dynamic Pressure Performance of Vapor Recovery Systems) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.5 (Determination (by Volume Meter) of Air to Liquid Volume Ratio of Vapor Recovery Systems) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.6 (Determination of Liquid Removal of Phase II Vapor Recovery Systems) Download
SDAPCD Test Procedure 91-1 (Pressure Decay/Leak Test Procedure, Phase I and Phase II Vapor Recovery Installations) Download
SDAPCD Test Procedure 96-1 (San Diego County Static Pressure Leak Test Procedure) Download

The following procedures are used for sites that only have Stage I vapor recovery equipment installed. This includes fuel dispensing sites constructed after April 22, 2014 and sites that have decommissioned their Stage II vapor recovery systems. 

Stage I Vapor Recovery Test Procedures:

CARB Test Procedure 201.1E (P/V Vent Valve) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.3 (2" Pressure Decay) Download
CARB Test Procedure 201.3C (Tie-Tank Test) Download
Get Email Updates With The Latest News