E85 Codes, Standards, and Safety
All E85—a gasoline-ethanol blend containing 51% to 83% ethanol, depending on geography and season—fuel system installations must comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes. NFPA Codes 30 and 30-A relate to Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code and the Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages, respectively. Many states have adopted NFPA documents as law.
Depending on the fueling site location, size of the storage tank, whether the tank is aboveground or underground, and specific state and local regulations, operators need to comply with the following:
- Federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (40 CFR, Part 112)
- State "spill" requirements
- Hazardous waste regulations
- State and local fire codes
- Petroleum product delivery laws
- Other state and local regulations (possibly)
Local fire marshals might also need to approve fueling site design and installation. This approval is generally easiest to obtain if equipment certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is being used. Hiring a trusted, experienced, and certified contractor will help ensure that the fueling site meets all required codes and standards.
Visit the following websites for more information:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Underground Storage Tanks, includes state-specific information and contacts
- Business and Legal Reports enables searches for federal and state regulations
E85 is poisonous and flammable. It should never be confused with beverage alcohol. Cigarettes and other open ignition sources should never be allowed in fueling areas.
In general, the same safety measures that apply to gasoline apply to E85. All employees and fleet drivers using an E85 fueling system should:
- Know basic safety practices
- Understand the purpose and content of the fuel site's emergency action plan
- Be familiar with signage and emergency equipment including the emergency shutdown button
- Understand what emergency actions must be taken in the event of an accident