Cargo Tank Vapor Recovery- Fact Sheet
Cargo Tank Vapor Recovery Program
Last Updated: December 15, 2017
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) was granted authority by the Health and Safety Code (HSC) § 41962 to adopt Title 17 CCR § 94014, the Certification of Vapor Recovery Systems for Cargo Tanks. The Certification Procedure of Vapor Recovery Systems of Cargo Tanks (CP-204) referenced in 17 CCR § 94014 was adopted by CARB in 1996, to ensure that the vapor recovery systems are operated and maintained properly. Properly functioning vapor recovery systems significantly reduce gasoline vapors emitted during the loading and unloading of gasoline from cargo tanks operating in California. Amendments to these requirements were approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB/ Board) in late 2014.
Cargo Tank Vapor Recovery Program (CTVRP) and who is affected
The CTVRP is the program that administers state certifications of cargo tank vapor recovery systems in accordance with CP-204. The certification procedures establish performance standards for cargo tanks, including tanks mounted on trucks and trailers that transport gasoline. California HSC § 41962 provides that no person shall operate, or allow the operation of, a cargo tank unless the cargo tank is certified and maintained in accordance with these procedures.
Compliance requirements for the Cargo Tank Vapor Recovery Program
The CTVRP requires that all cargo tanks undergo a certification process that includes the submittal of a 48-hour test notification, the completion of the annual test procedure, the submittal of passing test results, and the submittal of a completed certification application. Tests shall be conducted by the owner, operator, consultant, or contractor of the cargo tank at the expense of the owner or operator. Prior to testing a cargo tank the owner or operator shall notify the Executive Officer no less than 48-hours prior to the start of the test date, time, and location. After the tank has been tested, the testing entity will then need to submit the test results, from the five minute static pressure tests in accordance with the Vapor Recovery Test Procedure (TP-204), to CARB. If the test results submitted meet the standards outlined in CP-204, the cargo tank would then be eligible to submit a completed certification application. If the test results submitted do not meet the standards outlined in CP-204, the cargo tank shall be taken out of service until said cargo tank is repaired, tested, and determined to comply with the performance standards a for the annual five minute static pressure tests found in TP-204.1. A $20.00 certification application-processing fee is due at the time of submittal of an application.
Vapor Recovery Test Procedure (TP-204.1) and passing results
Table 1: Pressure or Vacuum Change per Cargo Tank or Compartment Tested
Allowed Pressure Change (inches WC)
Cargo Tank or Compartment Capacity (gallons)
|0.50||2500 or more|
|0.75||2499 to 1500|
|1.00||1499 to 1000|
|1.25||999 or less|
The vapor recovery system in a cargo tank unit is required to be annually tested in accordance with TP-204.1 as part of the certification process outlined in CP-204. TP- 204.1 describes how to perform the five minute static pressure tests on the cargo tank compartments in both positive and negative pressures, and a five minute static pressure test on the cargo tank internal vapor valve. Test results that meet the performance standards defined in CP-204 are considered passing. The three five minute static pressure test procedures and results within TP-204.1 include:
- The positive pressure test - performed by pressurizing the cargo tank to 18 inches water column (WC) and then allowing the pressure in the system to decay for five minutes. The acceptable test results referenced in CP-204 can be found in Table 1.
- The negative pressure test - performed by evacuating the cargo tank to negative six inches WC and then allowing the pressure in the system to decay for five minutes. The acceptable test results referenced in CP-204 can be found in Table 1.
- The internal vapor valve test - performed by pressurizing the cargo tank with internal vapor valves open to 18 inches WC, closing the internal vapor valves, and then allowing the pressure in the system to decay for five minutes. The acceptable test results referenced in CP-204 can be found below in Table 2.
Table 2: Internal Vapor Valve Pressure Change Per Cargo Tank or Compartment Tested
Allowed Pressure Change in 5 minutes (inches WC)
Cargo Tank or Compartment Capacity (gallons)
Apply for a certification
After passing the five minute static pressure tests outlined in TP-204.1, the testing entity, either the owner/operator or a third party, will need to submit the test results to CARB. Test Results can be submitted online after creating an account at https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/cargotanks/. After the system receives passing test results, an owner/operator can submit an application for certification online. Certifications are issued on an annual basis and shall expire on the last day of the month one year following the month of issuance of the certification.
What should I do if my certification is expiring soon?
In order to efficiently certify a cargo tank, an owner operator may test up to 60 days prior to the cargo tank’s current expiration date. Test results and payments should be submitted at least 15 days prior to the expiration date to allow for processing before the expiration date. It may take approximately two weeks for any application submitted properly to be processed and returned with certification and decal. Any test results and payments submitted after the 15th day prior to expiration, run the risk of the original certification expiring. Until the new certification can be issued by CARB, any cargo tank with expired certifications will not be permitted to load gasoline in the State of California and may be subject to penalties or enforcement action.
Fact sheets, compliance tools, and regulatory documents about the Cargo Tank Vapor Recovery Program are available at https://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/cargotanks/cargotanks.htm. If you have questions or wish to obtain this document in an alternative format or language, please call CARB’s Cargo Tank Hotline at (916) 229-0314.