November 2010 Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan Deadline

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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.”

Final Amendments

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 kmacoskey@cecinc.com or Paul Tomiczek, P.E., at ptomiczek@cecinc.com (800-365-2324). More information on EPA’s SPCC Rule can be found at EPA’s SPCC website: EPA’s SPCC Rule page.

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