May 29, 2009

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Westchester health department to regulate gas pumps

WHITE PLAINS - the Westchester County Department of Health now has the authority to inspect gas pumps to make sure gasoline vapors don’t escape when motorists fuel up.

The county takes the lead to enforce the vapor recovery rules and regulations from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, under an arrangement sought by the county and recently approved by the state.

“Giving Westchester County the authority to regulate gas station pumps and tanker deliveries means there will be better oversight and more enforcement,’’ said County Executive Andrew Spano. “It’s another example of the work the county does behind the scenes to improve our environment. And it won’t cost taxpayers, because our health inspectors routinely visit the county’s gas stations to inspect their  underground fuel storage tanks and will just add the pumps to their checklist when they go.’’

The county must enforce the law at the nearly 500 gas stations in Westchester, and at hundreds of pumps owned or operated by government or large businesses.

“Minimizing gasoline vapor emissions is good for the public and for the environment, ‘’ said Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Lipsman. “It reduces both air pollution and people’s exposure to carcinogenic compounds such as benzene, and it also conserves gasoline.’’

To prevent the release of gasoline vapors, any defective gas pumps must be removed from service, locked and sealed until approved replacement parts are installed. If you see a gas pump in Westchester with duct tape on the hose or a visible hole in it, call the County Health Department to report it at 914-813-5000.

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