More Proposed Rules for SPCC Plans

As the 2009 deadline to transition away from the 1974 Spill Prevention Controls & Countermeasures (SPCC) rule to the 2002 SPCC rule fast approaches, additional changes, as promised by the EPA were proposed in October.

by Jay Collert, CHMM, CET

As the 2009 deadline to transition away from the 1974 Spill Prevention Controls & Countermeasures (SPCC) rule to the 2002 SPCC rule fast approaches, additional changes, as promised by the EPA were proposed in October. With these, the agency intends to provide clarity, tailor and streamline requirements as appropriate to encourage greater compliance with SPCC regulations. Already there have been four significant changes to the rules, finalized on Dec. 26, 2006, that affect many SPCC plans. Last month’s proposals were more wide-ranging than the December 2006 final rules, with the potential for even greater impact.

October 2007 Proposed Rules

Any facility storing above 1,320 gallons of regulated oil and near enough to a navigable waterway or shoreline that could reasonably expect an impact by a discharge of oil from the facility requires an SPCC plan. Facilities storing above 42,000 gallons of regulated oil in underground storage tanks that are exempt from the 1988 UST regulations also require an SPCC Plan.

The proposed rules would potentially affect all SPCC-regulated facilities. Changes include:

  • Clarity on the general secondary containment requirements;
  • Flexibility in security requirements;
  • Flexibility in use of industry standards to comply with integrity testing requirements;
  • Additional flexibility in meeting the facility diagram requirements;
  • Clarification on the flexibility provided by the definition of “facility”; and
  • Define “loading/unloading rack” to clarify equipment subject to provisions for facility tank car and tank truck loading/unloading racks and exclude farms and oil production facilities from the loading/unloading requirements

These items have been issues for facilities since the final rule was published in 2002. EPA is now providing the additional information to help explain the requirements.

In addition to the items listed above, EPA is proposing to exempt the following from SPCC regulations:

  • Hot-mix asphalt and hot-mix asphalt containers;
  • Pesticide application equipment and related mix containers used at farms;
  • Heating oil containers at single-family residences; and
  • Completely buried oil storage tanks at nuclear power generation facilities that meet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission design criteria and quality assurance criteria at 10 CFR part 50, Appendices A and B.

Another major change allows the use of an SPCC-like plan for facilities with no single bulk storage oil container with a capacity greater than 5,000 U.S. gallons, and the facility haves no more than 10,000 gallons of aggregate oil storage capacity. Currently, facilities with aggregate storage no greater than 10,000 gallons can self-certify an SPCC plan without a Professional Engineer’s seal.

Conclusion

All SPCC plans must be updated to the 2002 final rules before July 1, 2009. With these proposed rules being considered and the fact they most likely won’t go final until late 2008, facilities will have a very short time frame to update their final plans. It will be crucial to keep watch for the rules so that the latest information can be obtained and integrated into the updated plans. For much more information on these proposed rules as well as the full text of the December 2006 final rules go to www.epa.gov/oilspill/index.htm.

About the Author: Jay Collert, CHMM, CET, is a nationally recognized environmental trainer and consultant with the Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training LLC. Since 1994, he has focused on helping companies understand and comply with the complexities of environmental regulations. Contact: 281-256-9044, jcollert@aarcherinstitute.com or www.aarcherinstitute.com

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