Foodservice Equipment Reports

CO2 In Soda Dispensers Not Hazardous Waste

More than 7,300 restaurants and other small businesses in San Bernadino County, Calif., can breathe a sigh of relief. As of Nov. 1, they are exempt from a month-old state regulation on compressed gas, including the carbon dioxide used in soda dispensers.

The law in question, Assembly Bill 408, addressed hazardous-material compliance issues and stated that a business handling 1,000 cubic feet of a compressed gas would be regulated as a Hazardous Materials Handling Facility.

Local officials blasted the requirement as expensive and cumbersome, according to The San Bernadino County Sun. The county fire department determined that storing less than 6,000 cu.ft. of CO2 for carbonated beverages or helium for inflating balloons would not pose environmental or health risks.

On Nov. 1, county supervisors found a loophole enabling local governments to exempt certain businesses from that requirement, and moved to lift the regulatory burden.

“Carbon dioxide is not dangerous and restaurants shouldn’t need a hazardous materials permit to be able to put it into people’s soft drinks,” First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said in a statement. “This is an example of Sacramento being out of touch with reality and hurting small businesses with overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations.”

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