Month: June 2010
You may be a bit confused about another deadline for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans considering the long history of this evolving regulation. EPA’s complete regulatory history can be found in their SPCC history, but here’s a chronology of the highlights:
- 1973: Original SPCC Rule published in Federal Register (12/11)
- 1991, 1993, & 1997: Proposed revisions
- 2002: Final “revised” SPCC Rule published (7/17)
- 2003 – 2006: Several compliance date extensions
- 2006: SPCC Rule Amendments (12/26)
- 2007 – 2009: Additional compliance date extensions
- 2009: Compliance Date Extended to November 10, 2010 (6/19)
- 2009: Final Rule on Amendments (11/5)
Three key take-aways from this history should be that 1) these regulations have been evolving for over 35 years now, 2) a final rule has been in place since 2002, and 3) the current compliance deadline is November 10, 2010.
Owner/operators should be aware that none of the regulatory actions that have occurred since 2002 have removed the obligation of affected facilities to comply with the Rule. EPA explains that compliance dates have been extended to allow owner/operators time to understand all the revisions and make changes as applicable to their facilities and plans. However, EPA states that “facilities must amend or prepare, and implement SPCC Plans by the compliance date in accordance with revisions to the SPCC rule promulgated since 2002.”
On November 5, 2009, the EPA Administrator signed the current “final” amendments to the SPCC Rule. The amendments are designed to increase clarity and streamline the requirements for SPCC Plans. The criteria for facilities to have and implement an SPCC Plan have not been changed. Non-transportation facilities with sufficient storage capacity that could discharge oil into navigable waters and/or shorelines are still subject to the Rule.
Tier I and II Facilities
The major recent change to the Rule is creation of Tier I and Tier II facilities. Tier I facilities are generally smaller sites with the following characteristics:
- Oil storage of less than 10,000 gallons aboveground;
- No single tank larger than 5,000 gallons; and
- No single oil discharge of more than 1,000 gallons in 3-year period, or no more than two discharges in excess of more than 42 gallons in any 12-month period.
SPCC Plans for Tier I facilities can be greatly simplified by using EPA’s template Tier I SPCC Plan. Tier I plans are not required to address many basic elements such as a facility diagram or facility description, compliance with facility drainage requirements or brittle fracture evaluations, and compliance with loading/unloading rack provisions. These plans may either be self-certified or certified by a Professional Engineer. The amendment does not supersede any state requirements for a Professional Engineer to certify the SPCC Plan.
Tier II facilities have the same characteristics as Tier I, except that the facility has at least one aboveground oil storage tank in excess of 5,000 gallons. Tier II facilities can be either self-certified or PE-certified, but they cannot use the template SPCC Plan.
November 10, 2010 Deadline
The significance of the November 10, 2010 compliance deadline depends on when the facility started operation, as follows:
|Date Facility Commenced Operation||November 10, 2010 Compliance Obligation|
|On or before August 16, 2002||Maintain the existing SPCC Plan and make amendments and implement changes as needed to comply with post-2002 revisions.|
|From August 16, 2002 through November 10, 2010||Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan consistent with current rules.|
|After November 10, 2010||Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan consistent with current rules before beginning operation.|
At this time, EPA’s recommends that facilities subject to the SPCC rule:
- Review the SPCC Rule, amendments, and compliance deadlines;
- Identify areas of your SPCC Plan that require amendment (if applicable);
- Make necessary facility modifications, if any; and
- Ensure that your SPCC Plan is up-to-date by November 10, 2010.
If you have any questions about SPCC applicability or recent amendments, please contact Kris Macoskey, QEP, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Tomiczek, P.E., at email@example.com (800-365-2324). More information on EPA’s SPCC Rule can be found at EPA’s SPCC website: EPA’s SPCC Rule page.
Impending EPA Post-Construction Stormwater Regulations Highlight Importance of Stormwater and Infrastructure Maintenance
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will propose and take final action by November 2012 on a first-time national rule that would control stormwater discharges from newly developed, previously developed and redeveloped sites. EPA plans to propose a regulation to strengthen the national stormwater permit program, including, at a minimum, new design or performance standards to control post-construction stormwater discharges from developed sites under the authority of section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act. According to EPA, the Agency is gearing up to revise the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations to respond to a 2008 National Research Council (NRC) report that calls for “radical changes” to EPA’s stormwater control program. The report, Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, concludes that the lack of requirement for post-construction stormwater controls in the construction industry’s general permit is a “glaring shortcoming.”
In order to prepare for these pending stormwater regulations, property owners may need to evaluate whether maintenance and rehabilitation of the infrastructure of their facilities is needed to achieve the requirements of the regulations. The monitoring and maintenance of property infrastructure is critical to ensure it functions as designed and meets or exceeds its design life. The specific aspects of site infrastructure that can impact stormwater discharge quality and can be addressed during a property infrastructure assessment include:
Stormwater Facilities: Inspection and maintenance of stormwater facilities ensures that stormwater infrastructure is functioning in accordance with the design and regulatory permitting requirements. Maintaining properly functioning stormwater management facilities results in improved water quality, reduced stormwater runoff, and reduced nonpoint source pollution to surface waters (rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, etc.) within the community. Improperly maintained facilities not only decrease efficiency and pollutant removal rates, but can also create environmental hazards such as flooding and contamination to surface waters. Further, the deterioration of stormwater facilities can result in the distress of other site infrastructure features (e.g., sinkhole formation beneath pavement).
Pavement: Either the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) or ASTM Pavement Condition Index (PCI) systems can be used to assess pavement conditions. Both provide an easy to understand comparative evaluation that will allow you to make cost-effective decisions relative to the maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing pavement. Additionally, a subsurface exploration can assess the as-built conditions and thickness of the existing pavement components and the pavement subgrade materials. Once the analysis is complete, a site pavement rehabilitation plan can then be prepared inclusive of details and bid documents for use during maintenance and rehabilitation. A wide variety of rehabilitation/maintenance techniques can be incorporated to maximize the cost-efficiency of the rehabilitation, including overlays, sealants, joint repairs and subgrade improvements.
Overall Site Conditions: Site modifications, changes to surface drainage patterns, offsite development and/or other factors may impact the quality of stormwater discharges from the property. A site condition review will evaluate slopes and embankments, sidewalks and crosswalks, pavement markings and traffic signage, surface drainage controls, slope benches and drainage outlets.
Ponds and Natural Enhancement Areas: Not to be overlooked is the natural environment of existing pond and landscape areas. Consider beautifying existing pond areas by removing cattails and invasive species and replacing them with native species and attractive wildflowers that will improve the biodiversity of an existing development. These improvements will enhance water quality and reduce the amount of erosion generated over time. This sustainable approach to stormwater management can turn a functional asset into an amenity.
While assessing the site infrastructure that can directly impact stormwater discharge quality, other site features can be assessed including:
Parking Lots:Reviewing existing parking lot layouts allows the evaluation of the efficiency of site parking areas, internal access roads and external driveways. Pedestrian and vehicular safety can be assessed as well. Pavement rehabilitation/maintenance provides an opportunity for property owners to upgrade the site parking lot and roadway layouts in an economical manner to address changes in site use to meet local zoning requirements, state Department of Transportation requirements, and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria.
Site Utilities: Underground utility infrastructure can be located using a variety of geophysical technologies. The location of utility infrastructure is an important element of property maintenance; particularly in the absence of “as built” information, or if site expansions and/or modifications are proposed.
It’s important that property owners take time to fully inspect infrastructure for signs of damage due to aging, natural elements or harsh weather. Further, an annual infrastructure evaluation allows you to maximize efficiency of your resources. The monitoring and maintenance of property infrastructure is critical to ensure it functions as designed and meets or exceeds the design life.
To learn more about how your infrastructure can impact stormwater discharges from your site, or assist with infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation needs, contact Mike Sheleheda, P.E. at (800) 899-3610 or MSheleheda@cecinc.com, or Rick Celender, C.E.T., CPESC, CPSWQ at (800) 365-2324 or RCelender@cecinc.com).