What’s Wrong with This Picture?

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Here’s the answers to last month’s “What’s Wrong” photos.

If this was a hydrostatic test of the spill bucket, no problem. However, if an inspector finds a spill bucket full of water it’s a violation.

Someone drilled a 2″ hole in the bottom of this sump and did not plug it up. If liquid gathers in the sump bottom, it goes right into the ground.

Tank overfill!

This tank interstitial space sensor wire was snipped so the sensor could not communicate with the tank gauge.

The pressure gauge should not be left in place after installation. If a vehicle struck the dispenser and the gauge happened to be struck also, the closing shear valve would push fuel out the gauge opening.

The lid indicates a groundwater monitor well opening but it is unclear what this “mystery” riser does. Or why it’s full of debris

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Answers to previous What’s Wrong pictures


Zip tie above the water float will restrict the float from rising very high up, giving inaccurate high water readings.

Sump sensor not in the correct position

Outer skin of flexible plastic piping not weathering well


If pump runs slow…has the mechanical line leak detector found a 3 gph leak?

Cracked FRP pipe with hardware store caulk (not recommended)


This rock crusted mechanical line leak detector probably hasn’t been tested in a while.



Separation distance between a fuel dispensing island and an open-flame BBQ grill should be at least 25 feet



Not sure the bartender has been trained as a Class C UST Operator


Using a Coca Cola cup and zip ties is not likely a proper way to isolate metal piping from earth. Or perhaps it was to patch a leak? Either way all the cigarette butts in the sump should be of major concern.

At first glance you might not see him but there’s a driver hunched down between the hoses and the diagonal stick on the phone, not paying attention. Plus the vapor return lines are not connected to the truck! Yikes.


Pigeon in the sump. Look again.



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The water gushing into the sump around the penetration fitting (top center below shadowed head) means the sump would pass a tightness test.

The wooden Popsicle stick at 8 o’clock is sticking through the sidewall, illustrating a hole that causes liquid to leak into the environment. Spill bucket testing can’t come soon enough.


This is a tough one. Look halfway up the right side dispenser on the right and see the white flash? That’s the hose being pulled out of the dispenser. There’s a straight black line exiting the picture on the right: that’s the hose attached to the car that’s driving off with the nozzle. So the correct answer: Drive off.


The “red tag” makes it fairly clear the UST system is not only out of compliance but cannot receive any more fuel until corrected.


This tank’s ullage (empty air space) is being tested for vapor leaks and the soap bubbles indicate the automatic tank gauge probe riser cap is bubbling, thus leaking vapors.

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Don’t smoke while working on a UST system. I don’t care if it’s not lit. It looks like you don’t care.


Clearly the liner company didn’t line the entire tank profile as is evidenced by there being no liner from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock. Also the jagged and drippy edges of the blue liner seen it indicate a hurried job. Liners are supposed to be applied 10 mils thickness at a time for ten times.

STP Sumergible Pump

Rust, a stubbed off mystery pipe, funky wiring fittings, bent flex pipe, anything else?


This is the first one everyone who answered got right. The vent stacks terminate at the door of the second story next to the gas station. The top of the vent stacks should be higher than the room line to avoid breathing in fuel vapors.


The solenoid valve (green round object at 9 o’clock above blue pipe) prevents the automatic line leak detector from looking for a 3 GPH leak from itself up to the dispenser. It can only find a leak between itself and the solenoid, all of an inch or two of product pipe. It was installed to prevent anti-siphoning (dispenser lower than ALLD) but all it’s really good for is a red tag since the line downstream of the solenoid is no longer monitored for leaks.


Notice the open PVC tube at the top of the sump near 12 o’clock: any leaks would go right out he sump side wall. Also the sump sensor (9 o’clock) is not positioned up and down so it may not trip and alert the operator in the first place.


Never put a smoking lounge on top of a tank pad of a UST system.


Aside from the muck in the bottom of the sump, the mechanical leak detector (tan thing at 11 o’clock) is not at the dead end of the pipe run. It would miss a leak between itself and the turbine.


The electronic leak detector (blue thing below rusty elbow pipe at 11 o’clock) is not at the dead end of the pipe run. It would miss the leak between itself and the turbine.

Bulging flex connector at 12 o'clock, liquid in sump, pressure gauge at 5 o'clock, lots of rust..what else??

Bulging flex connector at 12 o’clock, liquid in sump, pressure gauge at 5 o’clock, lots of rust..what else??


The pile of cigarette butts caught our eye. Was it the operator or the tester that was smoking while inspecting the turbine?


The sump sensor (gray tube between Veeder Root and electrical panel) is functioning but should be in the sump and not the back room.


February 2014: No leak detector, no ability to be alerted of a a catastrophic line pressure loss.


January: The attempt to isolate the metal product pipe from the earth, therefore eliminating corrosion, is only as good as the quality of the wrap job. Notice the speck of metal showing near the end of the pipe around 11 o’clock. That’s all it takes not to be protected.

Idaho 2008 096

December: The quick connect valve angling up on the left of the shear valve should never be left in place. The tester who was at the site last left it in place so when he went to test again he won’t have to reconnect his test port: lazy practice plus if the shear valve was struck and the quick connect broke off, the shear valve flapper would activate but if the pump was running, all the fuel would gush out where the quick connect broke off.

CP bad isolation

November: Metal product piping in contact with earth not fully isolated; yellow sleeve poorly installed and appears mostly for show


October: vent pipe not at the proper discharge height.

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August: Rust, oily, water, sump full of liquid and if that’s not enough, vice grips and a zip tie holding open the shear valve


June: Make sure you store your ATG print outs in a binder and not a bucket.


Zero amps on the lower meter means the cathodic protection system my be down and not protecting the steel. Call your corrosion expert ASAP

Prepare for a spill.

What’s wrong with this picture? Look closely at the little yellow sign. Looks like a confession for the next spill at the dispenser.

Not Where You Store the Stick.

What’s wrong with this picture? Note the stick inserted in the drop tube. A trained Class A/B operator would know this disables the flapper and is a serious hazard,

Cracked Bucket

What’s wrong with this picture? Note the large crack in the bottom of the spill bucket: A trained Class A/B operator would know this is bad.

Bad boots.

What’s wrong with this picture? Follow the yellow fiberglass pipe as it exits the sump and you’ll notice…no penetration fitting. Any liquid accumulation drains right out the sump.

Poppet Placement

What’s wrong with this picture? The stage 1 poppets are supposed to be attached to the tank top, not the vents, per recommended practices. This is a poor man’s retrofit and we checked with a few experts and though horizontally placed rather than the usual vertical, it should work..so long as the return hose reaches this area.

Two Leak Detectors.

What’s wrong with this picture? It looks like the electronic line leak detector wire lead was snipped off and mechanical one added to the pump. Will it work? Or is this just sloppy contractor workmanship.

Outlets for what??

What’s wrong with this picture? These electrical outlets shouldn’t be installed in a sump that may contain flammable vapors.

Venting at Grade

What’s wrong with this picture? A few things. 1. The stage 1 vapor recovery hose (yellow) and not hooked up back to the truck during deliveries. 2. The hoses are permanently attached to the vapor risers. 3. The yellow hose on the left is split. 4. This site is a major fire hazard.

How to Miss a Leak

What wrong with this picture? Who moved that sump sensor and for what reason? The sensor obviously should be vertical and placed to detect fuel in the low point of the sumo.

Overfill Prevention Prevented

What’s wrong with this picture? Some crafty person screwed the flapper to the base of the automatic shut-off device, automatic no more.

This Will Not Save You.

What’s wrong with this picture? The shear valve should be rigidly bolted to the crossbar; the band clamp doesn’t count. If the dispenser is hit by a vehicle, and the pump is on, the shear valve won’t shear and the fuel goes everywhere.

Is There a Probe in This Tank?

What’s wrong with this picture? The tank gauge probe should have a wire connecting to the console.

Is the Driver Paying Attention?

What’s wrong with this picture? The driver shouldn’t be on the cell phone while the fuel is flowing into the tank. Hello?

A Call for Monthly Inspections.

What’s wrong with this picture? Sump could use a little cleaning. The good news is that it appears to double walled suction piping; the bad news: no sensors and sump full of fuel.

When the Shear Valve Shears.

What’s wrong with this picture? Notice the ball valves on the metal stems to the right of each shear valve. They’re not supposed to be there. A lazy tester installed them to avoid the trouble to connecting to the test port to test the lines. If the dispenser was hit and the stems were also damaged the shear valve wouldn’t work and a spill would happen regardless.

How Flexible Are Flex Connectors?

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, at least we know where the leak came from. Another example of the need for periodic flex connector inspections and double walled piping.

When You Add Ethanol

What’s wrong with this picture? We guess the adding of ethanol, combined with a vapor pathway from the tank to the sump, combined with ambient sump moisture, created a perfect breeding ground for corrosion.

Single Walled Steel Pipe + a Bad Shear Valve = ??

What’s wrong with this picture? Coat hangers are not recommended for the trip arm of the shear valve.