• Texas Department of Agriculture Adopts Rule Change on Fuel Quality Complaints

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    The Texas Department of Agriculture has recently amended and adopted a rule change to the requirements governing retailers for fuel quality complaints.  Previously, retailers had 5 days from the date of notification to have a Licensed Service Company (LSC) pull a sample and submit it to the TDA approved laboratory.
    The newly adopted rule now in effect requires retailers to have a sample pulled within 3 calendar days of receiving notification of the complaint.  As a reminder, the current TDA rules also require that no new product be added into the tank once a complaint has been filed, and the tank must retain enough volume to be able to conduct sampling from the retail dispenser nozzle.  A copy of the new rule language is below:
    §5.5. Inspections.
    (a) Fuel sample collection shall be performed by a licensed service company or a licensed service technician, currently licensed by the Department under Chapter 13, Subchapter I of the Texas Agriculture Code.
    (1) Routine fuel sample collection: Beginning the day after notification by the Department that a routine fuel quality sample is required, within ten (10) calendar days, a facility must have a sample drawn by a LSC and shipped to a Department approved contracted laboratory.
    (2) Complaint fuel sample collection: Beginning the day after notification by the Department that a fuel quality sample must be drawn due to a complaint, within 3 calendar days a facility must have a LSC draw and ship the sample to a Department approved contracted laboratory.
    (3) It is a violation to fail or refuse to allow fuel quality testing as prescribed by the Department.
    (4) It is a violation to fail to or improperly ship a fuel quality sample as prescribed by the Department.
    (b) A Representative of the Commissioner shall conduct labeling inspections to ensure compliance with posting requirements set forth in §17.051 of the Texas Agriculture Code, and 16 CFR Part 306, in accordance with procedures adopted by the Department.
    (c) Routine fuel sampling inspections, labeling inspections, and complaint inspections shall occur upon a schedule determined by the Department.
    (d) All complaints received by the Department will result in an inspection of the facility and/or fuel blend inspection sampling of the motor fuel(s) identified in the complaint.
    1. Facilities are prohibited from utilizing a LSC with which it shares ownership interests, operations, or an affiliation having power to control the other, to conduct a fuel quality complaint inspection and/or draw fuel quality complaint inspection sample(s) for the facility.
    2. After a facility receives notice from the Department of a fuel quality complaint, the facility is prohibited from remediating or altering the fuel in the storage tank(s) holding the fuel blend(s) which is the subject of the complaint(s) prior to collection of the fuel quality sample after the complaint is received.
    3. After notification of a fuel quality complaint, and prior to the fuel sample collection, the facility is required to retain an adequate amount of fuel in the fuel tank(s) holding the fuel blend(s) which are the subject of the complaint(s) to assure that the LSC can draw a sufficient fuel quality inspection sample(s).
    4. It is a violation by the facility and the LSC to hinder, fail, or refuse to conduct fuel quality complaint testing and sample shipping as prescribed by the Department.
    (e) The fill pipe box cover for any automotive fuel storage tank or vessel supplying gasoline or diesel fuel shall be permanently, plainly, and visibly marked in such a manner as to identify what type of gasoline or diesel fuel each storage tank delivers to a particular motor fuel dispenser. For example, the markings may include the words, or abbreviation of the words, regular unleaded, unleaded plus, super unleaded, or a related color code scheme, such as white, blue and red. If the fill pipe box covers are marked by means of a color code scheme, a color code legend shall be conspicuously displayed at the place of business.
    (f) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section may result in the imposition of an administrative penalty, license sanction and/or civil or criminal penalties in accordance with Texas Agriculture Code, Chapters 12 and 17. Violations and penalties are set forth as follows: Figure: 4 TAC §5.5(f)

    For more information contact Scott B. Fisher, Sr. Vice President of Policy & Public Affairs, at sfisher@tffa.com or 512.617.4308.

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