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Secondary Spill Containment Technical Information

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Basics of...Secondary Spill Containment

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Act


Driven by the EPA's Federal Water Pollution Control Act (as amended by the Clean Water Act), this ruling is designed to prevent discharges of oil and oil- related materials from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines.

Background of the SPCC Act

The SPCC rule took effect on January 10, 1974. It was revised and strengthened in July of 2002. Parts of the original rule were unclear (i.e. container size was not specified) and compliance was expensive for small business due to the need to obtain certification by a Professional Engineer (PE).

Regulated Materials

Animal oils, fats and greases (including oils from fish or marine mammals), asphalt, aviation gasoline, bunker fuel, crude oil, cutting oil/machine coolants, dielectric fluid, diesel fuel, heating oil, gasoline, greases, hydraulic oil, jet fuel, lubricating oil, mineral spirits, motor oil, naptha, natural gas condensate, oil refuse, oily wastes (other than oil mixed with dredged soil), stoddard solvent, synthetic oils, tall oil, turpentine, residual fuels, used oil, vegetable oils (including oils from nuts, seeds, fruits and kernels). These materials are thereafter referred to as "oil" in this document.

Who Must Comply?

Facilities with total, above-ground, oil storage capacity (not actual gallons on site) of greater than 1,320 gallons. Storage containers that are 55-gallons and greater are used to calculate total capacity. Facilities with below-ground storage capacity of greater than 42,000 gallons must also comply. Facilities that meet such criteria must develop and implement a written SPCC Plan. Certain facility types, i.e., convenience stores, are exempt. In addition, EPA has extended compliance dates for four (4) problem areas: a) qualified, oil-filled operational equipment, b) motive power containers, c) mobile refuelers, and d) animal fats & vegetable oils at onshore & offshore oil production, drilling facilities.

What are the Basics of an SPCC Plan?

The SPCC Plan must address all relevant spill prevention, control and countermeasures necessary to minimize the potential for oil discharge. One requirement is to provide appropriate containment and/or diversionary structures, i.e. dikes, berms or retaining walls, to prevent a discharge. A means of secondary containment sufficient to contain the capacity of the largest single compartment or container is mandated. Products that seal drains or divert spills from drains, as well as sorbents, are considered "control" or "countermeasures".

When is Compliance Required?

Compliance dates for facilities (other than farms) are as follows:

A Facility Starting Operation...... Must....
On or before August 16, 2002 Maintain its existing Plan; must amend and implement the Plan no later than July 1, 2009. Facilities in this group that do currently have an SPCC Plan are out of compliance and are subject to regulatory action.
After August 16, 2002 through July 1, 2009 Prepare and implement a Plan no later than July 1, 2009.
After July 1, 2009 Prepare and implement a Plan before beginning operations.
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