Recent SPCC Rule Amendments

The purpose of this message is to briefly summarize recent amendments to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule; it is not intended to be comprehensive or detailed.

Applicability:  SPCC Plans are required for certain facilities that have an aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons (not including containers less than 55-gallons in capacity), and/or a completely buried underground storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons.

Deadline:  After several years of SPCC Rule amendments, and deadline postponements, all regulated facilities will be required to have SPCC Plans in place, amended and/or implemented by November 10, 2011.

  • The SPCC Plan facility diagram must include all fixed, regulated containers.  For mobile or portable containers, the diagram must show the area of the facility where the containers are stored; the number of containers, and the contents and capacities of the containers, unless a separate description is provided in the Plan.
  • Various aspects of the facility building may be considered in Plan development, such as the ability of building walls or drainage systems to serve as secondary containment for a container stored indoors.  Freeboard for precipitation does not necessarily need to be considered for containers stored indoors.  Indoor conditions that reduce external corrosion and potential for discharges may be considered when developing a site-specific integrity testing and inspection program.
  • Facility security requirements were streamlined, and can be performance-based, based on location and facility characteristics.  The Plan must describe how the facility will secure/control access to all oil handling, processing and storage areas; secure master flow and drain valves; prevent unauthorized access to start controls on oil pumps; secure out-of–service and loading/unloading connections of oil pipelines; and address the appropriateness of security lighting in preventing acts of vandalism, and for assisting in the discovery of oil discharges.
  • Exemptions from SPCC Rules provided in the amendments include hot mix asphalt/containers, certain vehicle fuel tanks and other on-board bulk oil storage containers, pesticide application equipment and heating oil containers at single-family residences, including farms.
  • Milk and milk product containers, piping and appurtenances, formerly regulated under the SPCC Rules, have been exempted from SPCC applicability and requirements.
  • Mobile refuelers have been exempted from secondary containment requirements applicable to bulk storage.  This exemption has been extended to non-transportation related tank trucks at facilities regulated under SPCC rules.  This does not include mobile or portable containers that generally operate at fixed locations at a facility.
  • General secondary containment requirements were amended such that the o/o must consider the typical failure mode and most likely quantity of oil that would be discharged, and address the most likely oil discharge from any part of the facility.  The amendments permit both active and passive secondary containment, and expand the list of example prevention systems to include drip pans, sumps and collection systems.
  • Bulk storage container inspection and integrity testing requirements have been streamlined.  Containers must be tested/inspected for integrity on a regular schedule or when material repairs are made.  Facilities must determine (per industry standards) the applicable qualifications of personnel performing tests/inspections and the frequency and type of testing and inspection.  No longer are visual and non-destructive testing required regardless of container size and configuration; integrity testing is permitted as outlined in industry standards.
  • In determining if a facility must report a discharge to the US EPA Regional Administrator, it is the quantity of oil that reaches the navigable water shorelines that counts (greater than 1,000 gallons, or more than 42 gallons twice in a 12-month period).
  • The facility owner/operator has more discretion in identifying which contiguous or non-contiguous buildings, properties, parcels, leases, or structures define the facility itself.
  • Facilities can self-certify SPCC Plans if they are considered “Qualified” facilities, with an aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or less, if certain other requirements are met, including the lack of discharges to navigable water shorelines (greater than 1,000 gallons within the last three years and no more than one discharge over 42 gallons within a 12-month period).  In addition, Tier I Qualified facilities, without a single container greater than 5,000 gallons in capacity, may complete/implement a simplified, self-certified SPCC Plan from a provided template.