Do I need a SPCC Plan: is it environmental?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), “due to the danger that oil spills cause to public health and the environment, every effort must be made to prevent oil spills and to clean them up promptly once they occur.”

The purpose of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule is to help facilities prevent a discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The SPCC rule requires facilities to develop, maintain, and implement an oil spill prevention plan, called an SPCC Plan. These Plans help facilities prevent oil spill, as well as control a spill should one occur.

SPCC applies to a facility that:

-Stores, transfers, uses, or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat; and

-Stores more than 1,320 U.S. gallons in total of all aboveground containers (only count containers with 55 gallons or greater storage capacity) or more than 42,000 gallons in completely buried containers; and

-Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines, such as lakes, rivers, and streams.

If your facility has over 10,000 gallons in total oil storage capacity, you will need a Professional Engineer (PE) to certify your plan. However, the SPCC rule has streamlined requirements for "qualified facilities" -- that is, facilities:

· with smaller oil storage capacity,

· and that have not had oil spills.

The owner or operator of a "qualified facility" can prepare and self-certify an SPCC Plan rather than have a PE review and certify the Plan. There are two types of qualified facilities, Tier I and II. To determine if you have a qualified facility, you need to:

· know the total capacity of aboveground oil storage containers at the facility, and

· information on oil spills from the facility for the past three years.

The following criteria should help you determine if you are a “qualified facility”. In both instances (Tier I and Tier II), in the three years before the SPCC Plan is certified, the facility must have had no discharges to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines as described below: