Operating a gas station is far more complicated than most realize. This is because gasoline, ethanol and other liquid fuels are both a potential safety hazard and a potential environmental hazard.
As a flammable and explosive substance, strict safety measures must be taken in the transfer of liquid fuels from delivery truck to storage tanks, from tanks to the fuel pumps and lastly to vehicles. As a potential environmental hazard, care must be taken to avoid leaking and seepage into the ground, especially into the water table.
Over the years, complicated regulations have been promulgated by a number of governmental agencies to insure safe transfer of fuel with a minimal of leakage and a maximum of safety. Industry and government standards have been set each stage of the fuel transfer process, from the tanker truck to the customer’s vehicle.
These standards are very complex and may be beyond the technical expertise of the average gas station owner. For example, the California Petroleum Products Program Manual is 149 pages in length. The ICC Chapter on Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities covers another 18 pages of highly technical rules. Failure to follow these strict rules can not only create an unsafe situation, but can subject the station owners to heavy fines or a shut down of the business.
In addition, because motor fuels are a corrosive material, maintenance is a part of the business. Tanks, transfer pipes, hoses and couplings need to be inspected on a regular basis and repaired or replaced as needed. Mechanical and electrical measuring systems must be tested regularly and recalibrated as needed.
For station owners and those in need of gas station pump repair California, there are companies who specialize in the set up, construction, inspection and maintenance of motor fuel stations. Such companies can design underground storage systems, install and calibrate pump measuring systems, pump inspection, repair and maintenance.
A support company will only be as good as the field personnel. A quality company will have its employees properly trained and knowledgeable of industry and government regulations. The employees will be certified by appropriate government agencies, such as OSHA and industry organizations such as API.
Some motor fuel retailers, especially those with a new or expanded station, may also need assistance in fuel pump placement, installation of safety barriers and placement of emergency shut off valves. The experienced maintenance company will usually be of help in these areas. Because of the complexity of staying in compliance, safety issues and the knowledge involved, most gas station owners will keep a quality maintenance company on retainer.