Over recent months, ACAPMA has been working with four separate groups of stakeholders to prepare a series of draft Best Practice Guidelines.

These working groups comprised representatives of fuel retailers, regulators, equipment suppliers, fuel system designers and service providers.

Last week, ACAPMA released the first two of the four draft Best Practice Guidelines that have been under development. These draft Guidelines outlined best practices for the Storage of Biofuels (https://acapmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Draft-Biofuels-Storage-Guideline-Consultative-Draft-4-July-2017.pdf) and Vapour Recovery Systems (https://acapmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Draft-Vapour-Recovery-Systems-Guideline-Consultative-Draft-4-July-2017.pdf).

“This week we have released two further guidelines, with the first covering UPSS loss monitoring and the second covering the management of forecourt stormwater”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

UPSS Loss Monitoring (Draft)

This Guideline discusses the need for all fuel retailers to install and operate systems that monitor fuel losses in Underground Petroleum Storage Systems or UPSS (https://acapmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Draft-UPSS-Loss-Monitoring-Guideline-Consultative-Draft-14-July-2017.pdf).

Fuel retailers operating in every Australian State and Territory have a legal obligation to ensure that they take all reasonable steps to protect against environmental damage caused by leakage of fuel from underground fuel storage systems.

“Importantly, the business consequences of fuel leaks from underground fuel leaks are severe with State/Territory laws making provision for million dollar fines and large site clean-up costs”, said Mark.

The combined effect of these fines is business critical and, for smaller operators, will often result in business closure.

“A commitment to daily monitoring of UPSS Loss Monitoring is essentially a form of business insurance that is just as important as other forms of business insurance for fuel retailers”, said Mark.

The Guideline provides Plain English guidance on how these systems operate and describes how these systems are used to minimise the risk of environmental contamination of soil and groundwater.

Management of hydrocarbons in Stormwater (Draft)

The second Guideline discusses the practices that should be put in place to minimise the concentration of hydrocarbons in any stormwater that is released from fuel retail sites (https://acapmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Draft-Stormwater-Management-Guideline-Consultative-Draft-13-July-2017.pdf).

Fuels spills on the forecourt typically occur due to either tanker unloading or customer filling activity and these spills must be captured for future treatment or disposal. This is typically done as part of the onsite stormwater management system.

“These spills also leave residues on the forecourt that are washed into the sites stormwater system during cleaning processes or heavy rainfall”, said Mark.

“Fuel operators have a legal obligation to ensure that all polluted stormwater is captured and treated (or disposed properly)”, said Mark.

‘We have also seen a small number of situations where poorly maintained systems – with high fuel in water concentrations in sumps and related traps – have contributed to site fires,” said Mark.

One of the central problems with this area of operation has been a lack of regulator consistency in respect of the minimum concentration of hydrocarbons that can be discharged from a fuel retail site.

“In some cases, Regulators have unreasonably required that the quality of the water being discharged from the site is cleaner than the water in surrounding natural waterways”, said Mark.

“Accordingly, this Guideline proposes the use of a national hydrocarbon concentration limit of 5ppm in stormwater discharged from the nation’s service station sites”, continued Mark.

Over to you

“Our thanks go to all members of the four working groups for the substantial assistance that has been provided in getting to this point”, said Mark.

“We encourage industry participants and regulators alike to review the guidelines and provide feedback on areas of concern or areas that may require clarification”, said Mark.

Comments will be received by ACAPMA until COB on Monday 31 July 2017 and should be emailed to markm@acapma.com.au.

Next steps

Once all comments are received, the Best Practice Guidelines will be reviewed by the relevant Working Group with a view to making a final recommendation for adoption by ACAPMA.

Subject to formal adoption by ACAPMA’s Equipment and Services Council (on behalf of the ACAPMA Board), the Guidelines will be launched during Day 1 of the 2017 Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum to be held in Melbourne on 13 and 14 September 2017.

The Guidelines will be produced in electronic format, updated annually and made available to industry and other stakeholders without charge.

Further information about the process can be obtained by contacting the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1300 160 270 or emailing communications@acapma.com.au.