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Ball Float Valves

In 2015, EPA revised the underground storage tank (UST) regulations. See below for the 2015 requirements.

Ball float valves (also known as float-vent valves) are fitted on the bottom of the vent line inside the tank. When the product level is below the cage, the ball rests at the bottom of the cage and the vent line is open (see illustration below, left). As the level of the product rises above the bottom of the cage, the ball floats on the product and rises in the cage. As the delivery continues, the ball eventually seats in the vent line (see illustration below, right) and restricts vapor flowing out the vent line before the tank is full. Flow restrictors must begin restricting flow when the tank is 90 percent full or 30 minutes before overfilling. If the tank top is tight, the ball float valve can create enough back pressure to restrict product flow into the tank, which can notify the driver to stop delivery to the tank. However, if the UST has loose fittings or other nontight tank top components, flow will not be restricted and an overfill will occur.

2015 Requirement: Beginning on [Effective date of Reg], ball float valves may not be used to meet the overfill prevention requirements for new installations or when ball floats are replaced on existing UST systems. Ball float valves installed before [Effective date of Reg] may continue to be used as long as they continue to operate properly and are periodically inspected for proper operation according to the new overfill prevention equipment inspection requirements.

NOTE: Manufacturers do not recommend using ball float valves with suction piping, pressurized delivery, or coaxial Stage I vapor recovery.

ball float valve

Ball Float Valve with the ball at the bottom of the cage and the vent line open. This indicates the product is below the cage and the vent line is open.

ball float valve

Ball Float Valve rises as the product rises. The ball eventually seats in the vent line and restricts vapor flowing out of the vent before the tank is full.

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