As Essential Businesses, Keeping Canadian Fuel Sites Operating is Critical

As Essential Businesses, Keeping Canadian Fuel Sites Operating is Critical

By Ed Kammerer

The global Covid-19 pandemic turned a bright spotlight on businesses deemed to be “essential,” making heroes of those who continued to operate, especially in the early months of 2020, so that there was as little interruption in necessary services as possible as the full scope and reach of the pandemic was still being determined. 

IN REALITY, THOUGH, THERE HAVE ALWAYS been essential operations, entities like hospitals, schools, government buildings and businesses that must be kept running during times of stress or emergency.

For instance, not many may know, but in Canada, fuel retailers that operate along the 400-series network of inter-province controlled-access highways are required to have systems in place that will allow them to continue operating even if power is lost in their area, such as during a severe winter snowstorm. If a station is unable to operate for longer than a prescribed period of time, say 72 hours, it’s possible that the site operator will be written up for a code violation and subject to a corresponding fine for non-compliance.

To ensure that they are able to continue operating if or when a state of emergency has been declared, these fuel sites, along with other essential businesses, will typically install a diesel-powered backup-generator system to provide electricity should there be an interruption in the power supply. In this case, the fueling site, for example, may have up to a 75,000-liter (20,000-gallon) tank installed either above ground or underground that is used to store diesel fuel dedicated for use with the backup generator. Between the storage tank will be a 750-liter (200-gallon) day tank to which the diesel fuel will be fed through a supply line when the generator is in use. An overflow return line is also used to prevent the tank from exceeding its capacity as it is being fed.

Many fuel retailers have diversified their operations such that they also serve as suppliers of fuel. In this case, they may have supply contracts with the hospitals, schools and government buildings that must be kept operational at all times. This means they may not only be delivering diesel for backup generators, but also fuel oil for use in boilers and water heaters that are used to provide heat and hot water to the essential buildings.

In 1957, the CSA Group, a global non-profit organization dedicated to standards development, testing, inspection and certification for public and private-sector industries, created standard CSA B139, “Installation code for oil-burning equipment,” which was updated for the 10th time in 2019 and is dedicated to laying out standards supporting the safe operation of oil-burning equipment. This standard specifies requirements for the installation of large oil-burning equipment, particularly when is used in water-heating and power-generation applications that feature stationary or portable oil-burning equipment, including boilers, water heaters and stationary internal-combustion engines (i.e., generators) used in emergency-power situations. CSA B139 also provides standards for the installation or altering of ancillary equipment, including piping and tubing systems, control devices, venting systems, and underground supply tanks, aboveground outdoor tanks and  aboveground tanks installed inside buildings.

In Case of Emergency

The need for emergency backup systems at many businesses and governmental institutions, along with the strict tenets of CSA B139, requires the creation of an emergency-fuel storage and supply system that will not only perform when needed – which, in some cases, may be after it sits idle for numerous years –but will do so in a safe, environmentally sensitive way when called upon. The design and operation of these emergency systems are also unique to the specific location, so there can be no “one size fits all” solution for these so-called “snowflake” installations. This means the operators of these places would be best served to identify and work with a supplier that can provide all of the necessary system components, which makes it easier to outfit unique system configurations.

OPW Retail Fueling, Smithfield, NC, realizing the importance of keeping essential businesses operating during times of emergency, and well aware of the pivotal role that diesel-generator sets and fuel-oil boilers play in these situations, offers its FlexWorks Fuel Oil Piping System for fuel oil and generator applications. This system has been designed to help deliver a reliable source of fuel supply for generators and boilers that are fed from remote fuel tanks.

A typical setup features a 3/4” supply line and a one-inch overflow return line that run from the remote above ground or underground storage tank (AST/UST) to the emergency generator or boiler day tank. Both lines are inserted into a common FlexWorks flexible access pipe that provides retractable access to the fuel lines. The supply and return-line piping is connected to the generator/boiler and AST/UST via a double-entry boot fitting.



FlexWorks flexible piping excels in these types of applications for several reasons:

Its increased flexibility lowers the amount of force that is required to bend the pipe, making it easier to fit the parameters of the site’s configuration, which also makes installation quicker and easier, especially in cold weather;

The FlexWorks piping system is installed in continuous runs where all fittings are contained in containment chambers; this helps eliminate buried fittings, couplings or joints in the ground and therefore helps protects against accidental leaks into the environment;

The pipe coupling or fittings are made of stainless steel to be compatible with any type of fuel and to withstand harsh Canadian environments both above and below ground;

The fuel oil or diesel piping can be installed in an access pipe that gives it the ability to be replaced, removed or repaired without the need to dig up the ground or disrupt the business to which it is supplying fuel and backup power; and

An enhanced Kynar fluoropolymer liner makes the piping denser and more permeation resistant to any type of fuel and carries the ULc listing.

Finally, the FlexWorks piping system has been engineered to be compatible with OPW’s complete lines of tank sumps, transition sumps, manholes and other ancillary components that may be needed to fit the demands of the specific installation, making it a “one-stop shop” that will ease the demands of system design, installation and operation.

10 Things to Do When Considering, Planning and Using Video Surveillance  

Reprinted with permission from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

  1. Determine whether a less privacy-invasive alternative to video surveillance would meet your needs.
  2. Establish the business reason for conducting video surveillance and use video surveillance only for that reason.
  3. Develop a policy on the use of video surveillance.
  4. Limit the use and viewing range of cameras as much as possible.
  5. Inform the public that video surveillance is taking place.
  6. Store any recorded images in a secure location, with limited access, and destroy them when they are no longer required for business purposes.
  7. Be ready to answer questions from the public.  Individuals have the right to know who is watching them and why, what information is being captured, and what is being done with recorded images.
  8. Give individuals access to information about themselves.  This includes video images.
  9. Educate camera operators on the obligation to protect the privacy of individuals.
  10. Periodically evaluate the need for video surveillance.


For essential businesses, it is critical that they can operate when called upon, even under extremely challenging circumstances. In Canada, this includes fuel-site operators that are situated along the nation’s most vital roadways or supply fuel to other essential businesses. OPW Retail Fueling recognizes its importance and is able to help ensure that any and all essential functions requiring a diesel-powered generator or ready fuel oil supply are not compromised through its FlexWorks Fuel Oil Piping System, with all of the components meeting the requirements of the CSA B139 standard regarding optimized safety and reliability, and efficient and cost-effective operation of all oil-burning equipment. 

Ed Kammerer is the director of Global Product Management for OPW, based in Cincinnati, OH, USA. He can be reached at OPW delivers product excellence and the most comprehensive line of fueling equipment and services to retail and commercial fueling operations around the globe. For more information on OPW, go to

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