Posted by Jon Kelly on 2017-07-10
There is an often quoted statistic in the world of compliance: 72.5%. It represents the percentage of retail fuel sites in the US that are compliant with EPA regulations, and it means that the remaining 27.5% are non-compliant, creating significant environmental and financial risks for the industry and society at large.
The potential costs of non-compliance are steep, both from an economic standpoint, including fines, lost revenues, and cleanup costs, and from a societal standpoint, in the form of groundwater contamination and air pollution.
Obviously, 100% compliance should be the goal, eliminating the costs of non-compliance for both industry and society. Fortunately, it is a goal that is not just desirable; it is achievable. But in order to get there, we need a deeper understanding of why the retail fuels industry underperforms with respect to compliance, as well as how to raise the bar for success.
We strive for a world where fuel retailers feel confident in achieving 100% compliance. There are for four primary reasons why the industry remains stuck at 72.5% compliance, and all of them are related to to a core Canary value – integrity.
Alarms happen all the time. Responses to similar tank alarms often differ between and even within companies. Inconsistency breeds inefficiency, inefficiency creates failure, and failure costs money.
Most remote tank monitoring systems connect via a router on an unsecure line. Any change in configuration kills remote visibility, presenting a major risk. The ongoing maintenance of repeatedly broken connections is extremely costly.
Missing paperwork is the #1 reason for non-compliance, but printouts of compliance records from tank monitors are rarely readable by the end of the required three years. Regulators recommend scanning, re-printing and binding such records as a backup, a “best practice” that is so costly and cumbersome it is often neglected.
Exception-based email alerts lack insights into the cause or possible resolution of a compliance problem, making the safest course of action an investigative site visit, with an average cost of $350. They induce anxiety and contribute to sensory overload, and raise the risk of being ignored completely, with potentially catastrophic results.
Without reliable options and fearful of repercussions, it’s no surprise that operators either pay a fortune for compliance or forego that cost and hope for the best, often with disastrous results.
So what does achieving compliance confidence look like? We have created a four-step approach to achieving 100% compliance:
Utilize a consistent, reliable workflow and disciplined alarm resolution mechanism to reduce inconsistency and inefficiency and containing costs, even in last-minute, reactive situations.
Establish, once and for all, a remote connection that streams data reliably and affordably without the risk of interference and interruption, and without costly maintenance.
With a reliable connection established, intelligent online record keeping can reduce costly administration, ensure data integrity, and eliminate risk of lost records.
Employ smart notifications based on actionable insight instead of empty “exception-based” alarm notifications to help minimize costly investigative visits.
In 2018, the fuels industry will see new UST regulations focused on the operation and maintenance of tank monitoring equipment. Increased inspection frequency and more stringent record-keeping requirements stand to turn compliance management from a costly headache to a relentless source of financial stress, particularly for those retailers who rely on antiquated and unreliable processes and technology.
Fortunately, new automated compliance technologies can eliminate the source of that stress, providing you the opportunity to leverage process, connection, data, and alert integrity to achieve compliance confidence. Are you and your organization ready to embrace them?