Local News

Refilling Of Older-Model Propane Tanks Illegal In N.C.

Posted June 27, 2002

— For people who have not fired up the gas grill in a while, a new law could make old propane tanks obsolete.

As of April 1, all propane cylinders are required to have an overfill prevention device or

OPD

.

That means buying a new tank, or purchasing a device to upgrade a current tank.

Most consumers are not aware of the new law.

"They just don't know. They're unaware that there's been a change," said Donnie Bullock of Ferrell Gas Company.

The reason for the change is safety. Overfilled cylinders present a danger.

"If they get overfilled and get hot, the pressure relief valve goes off and could fill a car trunk with propane and potentially, when you open the door and ignites," Richard Fredenburg of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The OPD device costs about $30. A new new tank with the device already in it costs about the same amount.

The OPD valve handle has three sides instead of five or more, like on older-models.

It is illegal to refill an old tank that does not have an OPD upgrade. Local companies said they have to educate customers about the change.

There is currently a shortage of the OPD devices, and manufacturers are trying to keep up with demands.

The Dept. of Agriculture said it is considering a short-term change to the law during the shortage, but that has to be approved by lawmakers.

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