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Code of practice for petroleum road

tanker vapour collection systems and


equipment used in unloading operations

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER


VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT
USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS
December 2008

Published by
ENERGY INSTITUTE, LONDON
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Registered charity number 1097899

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Copyright 2008 by the Energy Institute, London


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ISBN 978 0 85293 526 2
Published by the Energy Institute
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CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

CONTENTS

Page
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi
1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Petroleum road tanker vapour collection equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


3.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 Functionality of key road tanker components for vapour collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.1 Pressure and vacuum (PV) breather vent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.2 Vapour transfer valve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.3 Vapour manifold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.4 Vapour manifold vent valve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.5 Vapour down pipe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.6 Vapour collection adaptor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.7 Liquid detection device . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.8 Interlock for hose coupler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3 Vapour transfer hose and hose couplers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.1 Vapour transfer hose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.2 Vapour transfer hose couplers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
6

Requirements for the operation of service equipment by the tanker control system
4.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2 Operation of vapour transfer valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3 Control of vapour transfer valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8
8
8
8

Forecourt vapour connection point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


5.1 Vapour transfer hose forecourt connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Model procedure for vapour collection delivery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


6.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
6.2 Sequence of unloading operations involving vapour collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Annex A Key hazards associated with vapour collection deliveries . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


A.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A.2 Excessively high (or low) pressure in the filling stations USTs and vapour collection
system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A.3 Failure of the liquid seal in storage tanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A.4 Liquid in vapour systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A.5 Diesel deliveries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

iii

14
14
14
15
15
16

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

Contents Cont...
Annex B
Annex C
Annex D

Page

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Road tanker vapour transfer hose connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Filling station vapour transfer hose connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

iv

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

FOREWORD
This publication has been prepared by Robert Harris, Amber Engineering Consultancy Ltd, at the
request of the Energy Institute's (EIs) Distribution and Marketing Committee and the UK Health &
Safety Executive (HSE).
This code provides recommendations for the design and operation of vapour transfer equipment and
control systems on petroleum road tankers used during the unloading of petrol at filling stations. It
is particularly applicable to the designs of tankers operated in the UK.
At the time of publication, vapour collection has been practised for some 15 years in the UK. During
that period, experience has been gained in system designs and operation and road tanker equipment
has evolved. This publication draws on those experiences to document good practice.
The EI is not undertaking to meet the duties of employers to warn and equip their employees, and
others exposed, concerning health and safety risks and precautions, nor undertaking their obligations
under local and regional laws and regulations.
The information contained in this publication is provided as guidance only, and while every
reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of its contents, the EI cannot accept any
responsibility for any action taken, or not taken, on the basis of this information. The EI shall not be
liable to any person for any loss or damage which may arise from the use of any of the information
contained in any of its publications.
The above disclaimer is not intended to restrict or exclude liability for death or personal injury caused
by own negligence.
Suggested revisions are invited and should be submitted to the Technical Department, Energy
Institute, 61 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7AR.

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance and support given by the following:
Geoff Easton
Peter Godfrey
John Hazeldean
Trevor Mason

Cobham Fluid Systems


Wright Engineering
HSE
Purfleet Forecourt Services

An earlier draft of this publication was reviewed by members of the EIs Distribution and Marketing
Safety Committee, Road Tanker and Distribution Contractors Panels, Service Station Panel and
Vapour Recovery Working Group. The EI gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by those
during the development of this publication.
The EI also acknowledges comments received by Roger Marris (West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Service).
Project co-ordination and technical editing was undertaken by Andrew Sykes (EI).

vi

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

INTRODUCTION
EU Directive 94/63/EC made vapour recovery a requirement from 31 December 1998 for
existing distribution terminals loading more than 150 000 tonnes of petrol per annum, and
for filling stations handling more than 1 000 m3 of petrol per annum1. These thresholds were
reduced to 25 000 tonnes and 500 m3 respectively from 31 December 2001 and were
further reduced to 10 000 tonnes and 100 m3 respectively from 31 December 2004.
The principles of vapour collection are very simple2. When bottom loading a road
tanker, incoming fuel (driven by the terminal/refinery pumps) forces gases (including petrol
vapour) from the tanker compartments into the tankers vapour manifold, down the vapour
transfer line to the loading gantry connection and from there to the terminal vapour
recovery unit, where the petrol vapour is returned to the liquid state before being pumped
back to storage.
When unloading at a filling station the process is reversed. Petroleum product
leaving the road tanker flows under gravity to the sites underground storage tank(s)3,
driving vapour from the filling stations storage tanks into its vapour manifold, through the
vapour transfer hose and back into the tanker (figure 1).
Despite the apparent simplicity of the process, experience has shown that a number
of factors can exacerbate latent problems in a system that has poor design, installation, or
maintenance. The pressures and vacuums involved with the transfer of thousands of litres
of vapour per minute are modest and inevitably the vapour does not necessarily flow as
anticipated, particularly if restrictions or leaks exist anywhere in the system. Information
relating to potential hazards during deliveries is given in annex A.
Process safety considerations (including those required by, for example, the
Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002) and potential effects
on health and the environment when handling petroleum products and their vapour, have
led to a reassessment of the equipment, control systems and procedures for stage 1b vapour
collection.
In developing this code, consideration has been given to a number of tanker system
designs used in service, general process safety recommendations and the specific legal
requirements on road tanker operators to operate tankers that have vapour collection
systems4.
The guidance in this code is primarily intended for new road tanker vapour
collection systems. However, as modifications to a tanker control system are not onerous,
operators may wish to consider adopting its recommendations retrospectively.

1
European Parliament and Council Directive 94/63/EC of 20 December 1994 on the control of volatile organic
compound (VOC) emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service
stations.
2
EI Guidelines for the design and operation of gasoline vapour emission controls at distribution terminals, 3rd
edition.
3
A very small number of filling stations have above-ground storage of petrol requiring pumped deliveries; this
does not alter the recommendations given in this publication.
4
As detailed in HSE L93 Approved Tank Requirements: The provisions for bottom loading and vapour recovery
systems of mobile containers carrying petrol.

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CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

STAGE 1b VAPOUR COLLECTION

P/V valve

Free (atmospheric)
venting

Note:
On some sites the diesel may be connected
to the vapour collection system

Vapour transfer hose

P/V breather
vent

Vapour transfer
valve
Coaming
manifold

Vapour collection
adaptor

Petrol delivery hose

Fill pipe cap

Poppet valve

Vapour transfer
pipe/connection
point

Bottom
loading adaptor

Foot valve

Legend:
Diesel

Petrol

Petrol

Petrol

Figure 1: Stage 1b vapour collection

Page 2

Vapour
Petrol
P/V Pressure/vacuum

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

SCOPE
This code provides guidance for the operation of road tanker equipment for the safe and
efficient transfer of gases (including petrol vapour) during the delivery operation between
a filling station and a road tanker. The design requirements for key road tanker components
are described briefly here, for further details see EI Petroleum road tanker design and
construction.
In particular it provides guidance for tanker control system design, vapour transfer
hose and fittings, inter-operability of vapour transfer hose connections including self-sealing
valves, and a model unloading procedure that, together, ensure venting of vapour is
minimised, liquid and vapour containment integrity levels are maximised, and any vapour
that needs to be released is only done from the safest point on the forecourt i.e. the filling
station vent stack.
Items of service equipment (e.g. emergency pressure relief valves) whose function
is not relevant to the process of vapour collection are not covered.
The only item of equipment on the filling station that is included is the vapour
connection point. For specific filling station equipment design specifications, see APEA/EI
Design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of filling stations.

Page 3

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

PETROLEUM
EQUIPMENT

3.1

GENERAL

ROAD

TANKER

VAPOUR

COLLECTION

A brief description of road tanker component functionality required for vapour collection is
given in 3.2.1 3.2.8. For further information on the design requirements of these tank
components see EI Petroleum road tanker design and construction. Figure 2 shows these
components on a schematic of a typical road tanker.

3.2

FUNCTIONALITY OF KEY ROAD TANKER COMPONENTS FOR VAPOUR COLLECTION

3.2.1

Pressure and vacuum (PV) breather vent


A PV breather vent provides normal compartment breathing. It allows the compartment to
relieve excess pressure to atmosphere under normal conditions of operation. It also relieves
if an excessive vacuum is created inside the compartment, for example during discharge. PV
breather vents are designed in accordance with BS EN 14595 Tanks for transport of
dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Pressure and vacuum breather vent and, in
the UK, are installed to vent directly to atmosphere.
The nominal settings for tankers carrying petrol should be 80 - 100 mbar for
pressure, and !20 mbar for vacuum. Providing the settings have been selected and tested
correctly, during a delivery with stage 1b vapour collection the PV breather vents should not
be involved in the process, as the vacuum created within the road tanker compartments is
less than their opening vacuum setting.
During a delivery, in the event that vapour collection is restricted and the PV
breather vents open, air will be drawn into the road tanker compartments in preference to
vapour from the storage tanks. This could, in turn, result in the expulsion of gases (including
petrol vapour) from the underground storage tank PV vent.
Note: Procedures should be in place to require that such an expulsion of vapour is
reported, investigated and resolved (see Annex A).

3.2.2

Vapour transfer valve


A vapour transfer valve provides a passage for vapour when opened from the vapour
manifold to the compartments. Vapour transfer valves are designed in accordance with BS
EN 13082 Tanks for transport of dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Vapour
transfer valve and, in the UK, are invariably pneumatically opened/spring closed and
incorporate sequential operation. Once operating air from the control system has opened
the first valve in the circuit, it is routed to open the next valve in the circuit. This is used
primarily to satisfy the legislation for stage 1a vapour collection5. As only one control for the
vapour transfer valves is used, it also results in all compartments being opened to the vapour
transfer system during deliveries to filling stations.

HSE L93 Approved Tank Requirements: The provisions for bottom loading and vapour recovery systems of
mobile containers carrying petrol.

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CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

3.2.3

Vapour manifold
The vapour manifold connects all compartment vapour transfer valves to the main vapour
return down pipe. Usually one of the two longitudinal hollow-section coamings is used as
a manifold. Their original and principal purpose is to provide protection to the tank top
service equipment in the event of a roll-over.

3.2.4

Vapour manifold vent valve


Through a combination of careful design of the control system and procedures, the need
to vent vapour deliberately from a road tanker should not arise. It should also be noted that
the intent of the VOC Directive is to eliminate the deliberate venting (to atmosphere) of
petrol vapour from road tankers, and so there should be no need for the use of a vapour
manifold vent valve in normal operating conditions.
A vent valve fitted to a vapour manifold that is mounted underneath a tanker
should not be used to vent petrol vapour owing to the extended hazardous area created,
see EI Flammable hazard range during venting of petrol from road tankers.
A type of vapour manifold vent valve may have been fitted as described in 3.2.4.1
and 3.2.4.2.

3.2.4.1 Dump vent


On some road tankers, a dump vent was fitted to the vapour manifold in order to vent
compartments to atmospheric pressure prior to contents measurement by dipping. Contents
measurement of petrol in this way is not permitted now as their operation contravenes the
Approved Tank Requirements/VOC Directive if they also vent the vapour collected from
filling stations to atmosphere when reloading at the distribution terminal.
3.2.4.2 Smart vent 6
A smart vent is sometimes fitted to the tankers vapour manifold with the intent of
preventing vapour pressure being transferred to filling stations at the commencement of a
delivery. Normally sealed closed by pneumatic operation, the control system is designed to
detect when a vapour coupler is attached (but no overfill prevention plug) so that the smart
vent is free to operate as a PV breather vent at 35 mbar (the same pressure as a filling
station PV vent).
Following the recommendations of this publication obviates the need for its use.
3.2.5

Vapour down pipe


The vapour down pipe connects the vapour manifold to the vapour collection adaptor. It
passes through a compartment to terminate at the tankers vapour collection adaptor.

3.2.6

Vapour collection adaptor


A vapour collection adaptor is fitted to the road tanker for the connection of the coupler on
the vapour transfer hose. The adaptor should be designed in accordance with BS EN 13081
Tanks for transport of dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Vapour collection

Note: This does not refer to a specific product, rather terminology used by industry.

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CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

adapter and coupler 7 (nominal 100 mm diameter).


The vapour collection adaptor is fitted with a self-sealing valve (normally a poppet
valve) which has an integral probe that is opened by the corresponding probe of a mating
hose coupler. A schematic of the vapour collection adaptor on a road tanker is given in
annex C.
3.2.7

Liquid detection device


A sight glass or other liquid detection device should be fitted to assist in the determination
of any liquid product inside the tankers vapour collection system before the beginning of
a delivery. In the event that any liquid product is observed, the delivery should not be started
until the defect has been recorded and remedial action taken. This device may be an integral
part of the vapour collection adaptor.
Note: If liquid product passes into the filling stations vapour collection system, a
liquid trap could be formed that would prevent vapour flow.

3.2.8

Interlock for hose coupler


The proximity plunger/pneumatic valve commonly fitted on a vapour collection adaptor (that
detects the attachment of a mating hose coupler) normally plays no part in a delivery.

3.3

VAPOUR TRANSFER HOSE AND HOSE COUPLERS

3.3.1

Vapour transfer hose


Vapour transfer hoses should be of nominal 75 mm diameter. The recommendation in EI
Code of practice for a product identification system for petroleum products is that they
should be coloured orange. Their length is generally in the range 4 m 5 m (nominal) to suit
operational requirements.

3.3.2

Vapour transfer hose couplers


Vapour transfer hose couplers should be of cam and groove design in accordance with US
MIL-Standard MIL-C-27487 Cam-Lock & Grooved Couplings 8 but with different diameters
fitted to each end of the vapour transfer hose. Both require central probes to operate the
self-sealing valves fitted to the respective adaptors to which they couple.

3.3.2.1 Road tanker end


The coupler should be of nominal 100 mm diameter.
A probe should be fitted to open the road tankers vapour collection adaptor selfsealing poppet when the hose is attached. A schematic of the coupler is given in annex C.
It is not necessary to fit a self-sealing valve to this hose ends coupler.

The profile, to the US Military cam-and-groove specification MIL-C-27487Cam-Lock & Grooved Couplings and
directly referenced by the VOC Directive, has been carried into this European standard.
8
The coupler detailed in BS EN 13081 annex B is only applicable to a fixed installation.

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CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

3.3.2.2 Filling station end


The coupler should be of nominal 75 mm diameter.
A self-sealing valve should be fitted within this coupler, so that during the period
between the connection of the vapour transfer hose to the tankers vapour collection
adaptor, and sealing the connection to the filling station vapour collection adaptor:

vapour in the tankers vapour manifold, down pipe and vapour transfer hose is
contained, and

two-valve containment from atmosphere for the vapour in the road tanker
compartments is maintained.
Examples of probe movements required to ensure that self-sealing poppets in both the filling
stations vapour collection adaptor, and in the vapour transfer hose coupler, function
correctly are given in annex D.

Vapour down pipe


from vapour manifold
through tank to vapour
collection adaptor
Overfill
prevention
sensor

Vapour
manifold valve

Coaming /
vapour manifold

Sequentially operated vapour transfer


valve interlocked with overfill prevention
controller via pressure switch
Access chamber cover
complete with statutory P/V vent

Overfill prevention system


socket and pressure switch

Loading adaptor
Vapour pipework

Pneumatically
operated footvalve

Pneumatic controls
within cabinet

Vapour collection adaptor


with coupler connection
interlock to overfill prevention
controller via pressure switch
Locking bar with
pneumatic locking
and interlock into
pneumatic controls
and trailer brakes

Product pipes
Drawn by A R Tate

Figure 2: Typical UK petroleum road tanker and associated components

Page 7

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE OPERATION OF SERVICE


EQUIPMENT BY THE TANKER CONTROL SYSTEM

4.1

GENERAL
The sequence and manner in which valves are controlled on a road tanker when preparing
to make a delivery affects the risk of release of petroleum vapour to atmosphere, which
should be avoided for legislative, environmental and safety reasons.
In principle, accepted process control practice requires two-valve containment of
petrol and vapour as far as is practicable from the environment. For vapour in the road
tanker compartment, this requires the vapour transfer valves and the vapour collection
adaptor poppet to be maintained in the closed position. Therefore, when the tankers
vapour collection adaptor self-sealing poppet is opened automatically by the attachment of
a mating hose coupler, a self-sealing valve in the opposite end of the hose should be fitted
in order to maintain two-valve containment.

4.2

OPERATION OF VAPOUR TRANSFER VALVES


To meet the legal requirement9 for vapour transfer valves to be opened before loading (at
a terminal) may commence, vapour transfer valves are invariably operated sequentially by
a single control (see 3.2.2). The same control system is used when making a delivery.
To provide containment by two valves of the vapour in the compartments of the
road tanker, vapour transfer valves should not be opened to release vapour from the tanker
compartments into the vapour manifold and downpipe until after the vapour transfer hose
connections have been made to the filling station. Additionally, in order to minimise the
effect of any pressurisation of the underground storage tanks on the release of the liquid
fill caps by the driver/site operator, the vapour transfer valves should not be opened until
after the delivery hose connections have also been made.
This sequence of operation logically segregates the making of all hose connections
from the operation of the tankers control system and opening of its valves.
On completion of delivery operations, the tankers vapour transfer valves should be
closed before the vapour transfer hose is disconnected.

4.3

CONTROL OF VAPOUR TRANSFER VALVES


Care should be taken in the design of control systems for vapour transfer valves, particularly
where their operation is combined with other functionality.
In order to make delivery and vapour transfer hose connections to the tanker, it is
necessary to have access to its liquid and vapour adaptors. The liquid adaptors in particular
are generally fitted behind a protection device (e.g. guard bar) which is usually secured with
locks operated by the pneumatic control system. As the hose connections cannot therefore
be made until after the pneumatic locks have been operated (released), the operation of the
vapour transfer valves should not be combined with that for the locks. However, pneumatic

9
HSE L93 Approved Tank Requirements: The provisions for bottom loading and vapour recovery systems of
mobile containers carrying petrol.

Page 8

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

operation of the footvalves usually requires a master system to be primed first which
provides functionality to emergency shut down controls. Combining the opening of the
vapour transfer valves with priming the footvalve master system may be considered an
acceptable simplification of a pneumatic control system.

Page 9

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

FORECOURT VAPOUR CONNECTION POINT

5.1

VAPOUR TRANSFER HOSE FORECOURT CONNECTION


The forecourt vapour connection point normally comprises a vapour collection adaptor of
75 mm diameter in accordance with MIL-C-27487. It should be fitted with a self-sealing
valve with a probe that will be opened by the probe of a mating hose coupler.
The dimensions of the adaptor and the vapour transfer hose are given in Annex D.

Page 10

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

MODEL PROCEDURE FOR VAPOUR COLLECTION DELIVERY

6.1

GENERAL
The principles of this model delivery procedure and system design are:
1.

No valves on the tanker that contain the product and vapour inside the
compartments are opened before the product and vapour transfer hoses are
connected.

2.

Throughout the making of all hose connections, two-valve containment is


maintained for both liquid product and vapour contained within the tankers
compartments.

3.

Only self-sealing valves are opened when hose connections are made.

4.

The vapour transfer hose is not pressurised until after both hose end connections
are made.

The model delivery procedure with respect to the sequence of making hose connections and
operating the tanker control system is given table 1. Figure 3 shows the process
schematically.

6.2

SEQUENCE OF UNLOADING OPERATIONS INVOLVING VAPOUR COLLECTION

Table 1: Operation and safety effect


Operation

Figure 3
reference

Safety effect

1. Obtain access (e.g. lift guard bar) for


making connection of vapour transfer hose to
tanker vapour collection adaptor, ensuring
that all tanker valves, including compartment
vapour transfer valves, remain closed.

All vapour remains confined within the road tanker


compartments by two-valve containment (vapour transfer
valves and vapour collection adaptor poppet).

2. Check vapour collection adaptor sightglass


for absence of liquid. (If any exists, consult
company procedure for dealing with this
eventuality; do not attempt to proceed with
delivery).

This prevents the risk of liquid being carried into the


filling station vapour pipework and forming a trap.

3. Connect the vapour transfer hose coupler to


the tanker vapour collection adaptor; the selfsealing poppet in the adaptor will open.

Only a small volume of vapour in the road tanker vapour


manifold and down pipe(s) is admitted to the vapour
transfer hose; being fitted with a self-sealing poppet at
the filling station connection end, two-valve containment
of vapour in the compartments is maintained.

4. Connect the vapour transfer hose to the


filling station vapour collection adaptor. The
self-sealing poppets in the vapour transfer
hose coupler and the filling station vapour
collection adaptor will open.

The vapour spaces of the road tanker vapour manifold,


down pipe(s) and the filling station tanks are now
connected by the vapour transfer hose. Exposure of the
driver to vapour releases when making hose connections
is reduced to an absolute minimum and not dependent
on integrity of seals.

Page 11

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

Operation

Figure 3
reference

Safety effect

5. Make the relevant checks on compartment


and tank numbers: remove the loading
adaptor caps only from the first compartments
to be delivered; connect the first delivery
hose(s) to the underground storage tank (UST)
first, then to the road tanker.

Full integrity of containment of product and vapour on


the road tanker is maintained throughout the making of
all hose connections.
As any pressure in the tanker is still contained within its
compartments, there is no risk of any fill point caps being
pressurised by it when released for the delivery hoses to
be connected.

6. Operate tankers master control to open


vapour transfer valves (and thereby connect
compartment vapour spaces to the
underground storage tank vapour system and
vent stack).
Make the relevant checks for any obvious leaks
in the vapour transfer hose connections.

Only with both the vapour transfer and delivery hoses


connected is any pressure in the tanker transferred to the
filling station USTs.
The pressures in both the tanker and USTs will stabilise to
normal operational levels. In the unusual event of any
excessive vapour pressure increase in the UST system, it
will be vented safely through the filling station vents.

7. Open the footvalve of the compartment to


be delivered, followed by the bottom loading
adaptor poppet to commence product
delivery.10

Once delivery commences, vapour collection will occur.


This will result in some pressurisation of the storage tank
system, and some vacuum in the road tanker
compartments as the petrol vapour is both expelled from
the UST and drawn into the road tanker compartments.

8. If appropriate, repeat for the second


compartment to be delivered.
9. On completion of delivery of each
compartment, close the footvalve (making sure
it had remained open throughout the delivery),
then the loading adaptor poppet, and
disconnect the delivery hose (from the tanker
first, then the UST).
10. On completion of total delivery, ensure all
footvalves and loading adaptor poppets are
closed. Replace all bottom loading adaptor
caps.
11. Close the master control to close all
vapour transfer valves. Disconnect the vapour
transfer hose from the filling station first, then
from the road tanker. Check self-sealing
poppets have closed.

Closing the master control closes the vapour transfer


valves and so isolates the road tanker compartments.
Even if a self-sealing valve is not fitted in the vapour
transfer hose, the exposure of the driver to vapour as the
hose connection is broken is minimised.

10

In accordance with HSE Approved Code of Practice Unloading petrol from road tankers, paragraph 65, no
more than two compartments should be unloaded simultaneously unless justified by a site-specific risk
assessment.

Page 12

Service station vent


with P/V valve

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Service station vent


with P/V valve

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Key:

Key:

High vapour pressure

Medium vapour pressure

Medium vapour pressure


Vapour tight
drop tube

Underground
storage tank

Petrol

Low vapour pressure

Page 13

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Service station vent


with P/V valve

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

High vapour pressure


Medium vapour pressure
Vapour tight
drop tube

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Service station vent


with P/V valve

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

Key:

Key:

Key:
High vapour pressure

High vapour pressure

Medium vapour pressure

Medium vapour pressure

Low vapour pressure


Petrol

Figure D: Delivery hose connected

Vapour tight
drop tube

Petrol

Figure C: Vapour transfer hose connected at both ends

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

Underground
storage tank

Low vapour pressure

Underground
storage tank

Petrol

Figure B: Vapour transfer hose connected to tanker

Figure A: Tanker arrives


Service station vent
with P/V valve

Vapour tight
drop tube

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

High vapour pressure

Low vapour pressure

Underground
storage tank

Truck compartment
P/V breather vent

Tanker vapour
hose self-sealing
coupler

Filling station
self-sealing
vapour adaptor

Key:

Vapour tight
drop tube

Service station vent


with P/V valve

Underground
storage tank

Low vapour pressure

High vapour pressure


Medium vapour pressure
Vapour tight
drop tube

Petrol

Figure E: Tanker control system operated

Figure F: Product delivery

Figure 3: Procedure for hose connections and operation of tanker service equipment

18

Underground
storage tank

Low vapour pressure


Petrol

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

ANNEX A
KEY HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH VAPOUR COLLECTION
DELIVERIES
A.1

GENERAL
Despite the apparent simplicity of the process, there have been reports of incidents having
occurred which indicate that drivers and filling station personnel may not fully understand
the function and operation of vapour collection systems. Furthermore the process is sensitive
to poor system design, installation and maintenance.
It should be noted that under the provisions of Regulation 9 of the Dangerous
Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, employers have a statutory duty
to ensure that their drivers are adequately trained in:

the safety features of the process (unloading/vapour collection) that they are
operating (i.e. the basic principles of vapour collection systems);

the safe use of the plant and equipment (i.e. monitoring the delivery for vapour
leaks);

how to recognise faults in the process/system (i.e. the signs and symptoms of
vapour leaks);

the actions to be taken when a fault occurs or is suspected (i.e. the


reporting/recording procedure of instances of vapour lock, vapour leak, equipment
failure, over-pressurisation or unusually slow deliveries), and

the actions to be taken in an emergency.

A.2

EXCESSIVELY HIGH (OR LOW) PRESSURE IN THE FILLING STATIONS USTS AND
VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEM
A build up of pressure (under the control of the filling stations PV vent or orifice plate) may
occur on filling stations with low petrol sales volumes or which close overnight. The converse
can exist on very busy filling stations (e.g. motorway service areas) where sales create a
partial vacuum in the UST, making it difficult for the tanker driver to remove the security cap
from the filling stations vapour collection adaptor (indicating the adaptor has a leaking selfsealing poppet).
Poor installation and maintenance of filling station pipework and equipment may
cause vapour collection pressure problems.
Examples of such problems are:

inadequate joint sealing and holes in storage tank internal fill pipes that can transfer
vapour under pressure into the tank fill pipes which acts on their caps;

pipework of inadequate diameter (for its length), with an excessive number of


elbows or T-pieces that can create a flow restriction, and

debris or obstructions being left in the pipework that blocks vapour flow.
Additionally, a seized PV vent may cause excessively high pressure in the filling stations
USTs.
Such defects may be detected by the driver encountering difficulty when connecting
the vapour transfer hose coupler to the filling station vapour collection adaptor, or a tanks
fill pipe cap being noticeably pressurised when removed prior to making the hose

Page 14

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

connection.
Annex A.1 gives the scope of the training that drivers should be given so that they
are able to recognise immediately any problem that might affect the safety of the delivery.
On filling stations where proprietary systems have been installed to control stock
losses by reducing or eliminating the amount of vapour returned to the road tanker, there
may be an additional risk of over-pressure/resistance to vapour flow. Where a specific
procedure is to be followed by the driver that conflicts with instructions already received
from his employer or client company, it is essential that the filling station operator, system
installer and distribution company liaise to ensure that the stock control system works in
harmony with tankers delivering to the filling station, and any modified procedural
requirements amended as necessary through a management-of-change process.

A.3

FAILURE OF THE LIQUID SEAL IN STORAGE TANKS


Loss of the liquid seal in a filling stations storage tank creates the greatest risk of one of
vapour escape onto the forecourt when the fill pipe cap is removed to make a delivery. A
minimum level (40 mm) of liquid covering the bottom of a tanks internal fill pipe forms the
seal and is required at all times to prevent loss of vapour through the fill pipe connection.
Clearly, the minimum level will not exist prior to the first fill of a tank or after a tank
has been completely emptied and cleaned, but such circumstances are well known and
procedures exist for such occasions11. Where the problem is not recognised and the seal has
been lost due to poor installation or shortening of the fill pipe during maintenance (e.g.
when overfill prevention equipment is being maintained), there is a high risk of vapour (and
possibly product) being ejected from the fill pipe when the cap is removed.
Drivers should be trained to abort a delivery where there is any unusual loss of
vapour when removing fill caps.
Note: A fill cap should only be removed immediately prior to making a hose
connection.

A.4

LIQUID IN VAPOUR SYSTEMS


There are several potential sources for the presence of liquid in vapour collection systems,
all will interfere with the operation by creating liquid traps that may slow or even stop the
discharge from a tanker. In all cases, drivers should be able to identify the presence of liquid
either through the process of handling the vapour transfer hose or by checking the sight
glass in the tankers vapour collection adaptor.
Examples of causes of blockages caused by liquid traps are:

At terminals, liquid (condensate) can accumulate in the gantry vapour transfer hose
or arm and be transferred into the tankers vapour collection adaptor, creating
back-pressure in the system and ultimately causing the tanker PV breather vents (or
even emergency pressure relief valves) to open and discharge vapour when loading.

11

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service: Petrol filling stations guidance on managing the risks of fire and
explosion, Section 8.1[13]

Page 15

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

A leaking or sticking compartment vapour transfer valve can allow liquid to enter
the vapour manifold and downpipe on the tanker whilst in transit. Inadequate
compartment ullages will exacerbate this situation. The liquid will be transferred to
the vapour arm/transfer hose at the terminal or into the vapour collection system
of the filling station.

Product can be drawn into a tankers compartments from a storage tank that has
experienced an overfill on a previous delivery and where either the overfill
prevention device failed to operate or none was fitted.

On a steeply sloping discharge point, some tanker compartment vapour transfer


valves can become submerged (particularly if located at one end of the
compartment rather than closer to the volumetric centre section); when the valves
are opened product may flood into the coaming. The tanker should be repositioned
before discharge.

The tankers vapour manifold can become flooded when compartments are liquidfilled with water through the fill cover/man way when gas-freeing for tank repair,
or for hydraulic testing.

Accumulations of condensate in the filling station vapour collection system; below


ground connection points are more prone to this problem.

Drivers should be trained to:

always check the sight glass on the tanker vapour collection adaptor for any sign
of liquid product prior to loading or delivery, and

understand the risk associated with steeply sloping discharge positions.


After tanker repair or testing involving filling the tanker with a liquid, a re-commissioning
procedure should be used that ensures the tankers vapour collection system is fully drained
prior to returning to service.

A.5

DIESEL DELIVERIES
Discharging a mixed load of petrol and diesel at filling stations can result in the road tanker
compartment(s) from which the diesel is discharged to be re-filled, at least partially, with
petrol vapour12.
When the vapour transfer hose is not connected for unloading the diesel
compartment(s), atmospheric venting of the storage tank will occur (i.e. displaced air and
vapour will be released from the filling stations vent pipe); a combination of vapour and air
will be drawn into the emptying road tankers compartment from the adjacent (petrol filled)
compartments and PV breather vents respectively.

12

HSE PETEL 65/30 Petrol filling stations safety concerns when diesel tanks are manifolded with petrol tanks.

Page 16

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

When the vapour transfer hose is connected for the unloading of the diesel
compartment(s), a closed circuit is created whereby there is no displacement (discharge) of
air and vapour to atmosphere from the filling station diesel tank receiving the delivery.
Instead, air and vapours will be drawn preferentially from all the filling station tanks
manifolded to the vapour collection system through the vapour transfer hose into the
emptying diesel compartment(s).
It should be noted that, similarly, the storage tanks at a filling station may receive
this petrol vapour in the wake of the discharge of diesel as it is drawn down the delivery
hose from the road tanker compartment. This will occur even where the diesel storage tank
is not connected to the filling stations vapour manifold.
Drivers may not always consider connecting the vapour transfer hose when making
diesel-only deliveries where the diesel tanks are not connected to the sites vapour collection
system. Where diesel tank vents are connected to the filling stations vapour collection
system, there should be a notice adjacent to the discharge point instructing drivers to
connect the vapour transfer hose.
Where filling station tanks are re-allocated between petrol and diesel, instances
have occurred where the vents have not been correctly re-connected or segregated. This
may even result in some tanks for diesel storage being connected to the vapour manifold,
and some not.
Drivers should be trained to recognise:

with a mixed load, diesel compartments will contain petrol vapour after discharge;

diesel tanks may or may not be connected to the filling stations vapour collection
system (even at the same filling station);

if a diesel tank is connected to the filling stations vapour collection system, a notice
instructing the connection of the vapour transfer hose should be displayed at the
fill point, and

if a PV vent connected to a filling stations vapour manifold (audibly) vents vapour


during a road tanker discharge, it should be reported for investigation and
corrective action.

Page 17

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

ANNEX B
REFERENCES
British Standards Institution (BSI)
http://www.bsi-global.com
BS EN 13081 Tanks for transport of dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Vapour collection
adapter and coupler.
BS EN 13082 Tanks for transport of dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Vapour transfer
valve.
BS EN 14595 Tanks for transport of dangerous goods. Service equipment for tanks. Pressure and
vacuum breather vent.
Energy Institute (EI)
http://www.energyinst.org
APEA/EI Design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of filling stations ,
2nd edition.
Code of practice for a product identification system for petroleum products, 6th edition.
Flammable hazard range during venting of petrol from road tankers, 1st edition13.
Guidelines for the design and operation of gasoline vapour emission controls at distribution
terminals, 3rd edition.
Petroleum road tanker design and construction, 1st edition.
European Commission (EC)
http://www.europa.eu.int/index-en.htm
Directive 94/63/EC of 20 December 1994 on the control of volatile organic compound (VOC)
emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations.
Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
http://www.hse.gov.uk
Approved Code of Practice Unloading petrol from road tankers.
L93 Approved Tank Requirements: The provisions for bottom loading and vapour recovery systems
of mobile containers carrying petrol.
PETEL 65/30 Petrol filling stations safety concerns when diesel tanks are manifolded with petrol tanks.
13

Copy available from EI Library and Information Services.

Page 18

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)


http://www.opsi.gov.uk
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002.
Other
MIL-C-27487 Cam-Lock & Grooved Couplings.
Petrol filling stations guidance on managing the risks of fire and explosion, West Yorkshire Fire and
Rescue Service.

Page 19

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

ANNEX C
ROAD TANKER VAPOUR TRANSFER HOSE CONNECTION

Page 20

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PETROLEUM ROAD TANKER VAPOUR COLLECTION SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN UNLOADING OPERATIONS

ANNEX D
FILLING STATION VAPOUR TRANSFER HOSE CONNECTION
Filling station vapour collection adaptor

Vapour transfer hose coupler with self-sealing valve

75 mm diameter

Probe

Probe

Seal for adaptor and poppet


Self-sealing poppet

X
Y

X = distance (mm) to open fully hose couplers self-sealing valve

Y = distance (mm) from adaptor probe end to the self-sealing face (in the uncoupled condition)

39
39 = distance (mm) from the sealing face to the adaptor probe end when in the fully open
position

Notes
1. The filling stations vapour collection adaptor may be mounted in a horizontal or vertical position depending
on whether it is installed above or below ground (respectively).
2. For a vapour transfer hose coupler without a self-sealing valve, Y = 39 mm.

Page 21

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