Spill Prevention Countermeasures and Control Requirements

In previous posts I have discussed some of the regulatory requirements associated withSPCC Requirements, Spill Prevention, EH&S Consultant in South Florida, Oil Spills the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emergency Management Division: EPCRA and CERCLA.  Today’s post continues exploring these requirements with the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) requirements found in 40 CFR 112.  The SPCC requirements are part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations which focus on preparedness and prevention of as well as the response to oil product spills into navigable waters.  The primary manner in which facilities are regulated by SPCC requirements are through the creation of an SPCC Plan that specifies actions taken to ensure oils do not reach navigable waters.

Let’s begin with the question: Which facilities need to comply with these regulations?  The General Applicability section found in 40 CFR 112.1 has a long list of requirements that trigger compliance: “onshore or offshore facilities engaged in drilling, producing, gathering, storing, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using, or consuming oil and oil products, which due to its location, could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in quantities that may be harmful, as described in part 110 of this chapter, into or upon the navigable waters of the United States….”  One key to this regulation is defining navigable waters and oil.  Navigable waters include tributaries in addition to inter and intra state lakes, rivers and streams; while oil is that of any kind including animal fats.  The definition of oil is such that organizations across any sector can be impacted if large amounts of cooking oils are used for an onsite kitchen, cafeteria or catering service.

When analyzing regulatory applicability it’s important to consider the exemptions. For SPCC regulations, only facilities with above ground oil storage of greater than 1,320 gallons of oil in containers of 55 gallons or more are required to comply with this regulation.  If the facility has underground storage tanks then that threshold is increased to 42,000 gallons.   Other exemptions include:

  1. Motive power containers that are used to power trucks, cars, bulldozers and, other heavy equipment so far as the equipment is not used for the transfer or distribution of oil.  For obvious reasons, this exemption does not include drilling equipment or mobile refuelers.
  2. Hot-mix asphalt and containers.
  3. Pesticide application equipment or containers.
  4. Facilities that solely treat wastewater.

A 2009 revision to the SPCC regulations streamlined the process of implementing an SPCC Plan by allowing self-certification of the plan.  Facilities that have 10,000 gallons of oil or less may become a Tier I or Tier II Qualified Facility which allows for a modified SPCC Plan; otherwise facilities must comply with the full SPCC Plan requirement including certification by a Professional Engineer (PE).

In the next post I will tackle the requirements of SPCC Plans.  In the meantime, dive deeper into the SPCC requirements with the following resources:

EPA SPCC Homepage
Qualified Facility Fact Sheet
2009 SPCC Modifications

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