Regulations And Spill Prevention

Justin Christensen |

Download PDF Help keep our planet clean by following proper spill prevention regulations.

Every year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents, on average, 18,000 to 24,000 incidents that have resulted in 10 to 25 million gallons of spilled oil. These astounding statistics do not include the thousands that go unreported, and the toll on humans and the environment is almost immeasurable.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to help the situation. Whether you’re part of production, transport, storage or a user of oil, awareness and prevention are a significant part of reducing occurrences. 

Here’s a look at some of what you need to know.

What are SPCC Regulations?

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The Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) were implemented in 1974 and are based on Section 311 of the United States Clean Water Act. The rules support the EPA’s mandate “to prevent, prepare for and respond to oil spills that occur in and around inland waters of the United States”.

Whom do the regulations apply to?

Any farm, industrial facility or construction site storing oils of 1,320 gallons or more aboveground or 42,000 gallons or more below ground is subject to SPCC regulations. Oils include everything from petroleum and its byproducts such as synthetics or mineral oils, to fuel oil, sludge and all those derived from animals, fish, mammals or vegetation.

How do I know what my oil storage capacity is?

Containers of 55 gallons or larger must be included to determine your oil storage capacity. Drums, tanks, containers, transformers, oil-filled electrical equipment and mobile or portable totes are all vessels of oil storage.

What is an SPCC Plan?

An SPCC Plan outlines the equipment, manpower, training and procedures you have in place to prevent and control oil spills. It also describes your plan of action to respond should a spill occur.

What kinds of measures can help prevent a spill?

  Adequate storage facilities that meet industry standards.

—  Regular inspections to check conditions of pipelines, storage containers and related equipment.

—  Secondary containment measures should an incident occur.

—  Automatic shutoffs to prevent overfilling of tanks.

—  Alarms to notify of leaks or equipment failure.

—  Safe handling and transport procedures.

How soon do I need to act?

May 10, 2013 was the last Compliance date issued by the EPA. If you didn’t have an SPCC plan in place by then, you could be subject to penalties and fines. Violations can include criminal charges if negligence or knowing was a factor and fines can be as high as $37,500 per day of violation. Your business is at stake and there is no price to reflect the true cost of endangering the public, the environment or disrupting the economy.

Where do I start?

Working with a conscientious and informed fuel distributor is a great step in helping to protect your business and the environment. Their team of industry experts will help you understand regulations and ensure compliance through the development of an SPCC Plan. They can also offer specific expertise in the areas of spill control equipment, personnel training, product handling and storage system design and implementation.

If you’re still uncertain whether your operations meet SPCC criteria or if you need to update your existing plan, contact your fuel distributor for a free consultation. With their core values of accountability, value creation, customer success and growth, you will be investing in the future of your company, your community and the environment.