SPCC Plans (40 cfr 112) - (Should be reviewed/redone every 5 years)
SPCC stands for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure. Often times we'll hear "spill plan" or "oil spill plan", or something along those lines. It's ok to call it that if you'd like, but you'll probably end up confusing yourself or your staff.
These plans are required by Federal law under the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations (40 CFR 112). Briefly, it states that any "non-transportation facility", with the "potential to discharge oil to waters of the U.S.", and who stores oil or petroleum products on-site in excess of 1,320 gallons, needs to prepare and implement a plan meeting the requirements and intent of the regulation.
There is a few key things in there which we need to break down:
- Non-transportation facility - Means your facility is stationary, but really, it covers almost all facilities, including industrial, commercial, agricultural or public facilities that store, produce or use oil or oil products. For most facility, you can ignore this part.
- Potential to discharge oil to waters of the U.S. - Guess what? That creek a mile away from you fits the criteria. That wetlands across the highway...that does too. And, that catch basin down the road likely leads to some sort of water-body. Point is, you definitely have the potential to discharge oil to waters of the U.S., even if it's not close. Again, largely ignore this point, because the EPA will figure out how you "could" discharge.
- Stores oil or petroleum products on-site in excess of 1,320 gallons - This is a bit trickier, and where you need to pay attention. You have to have the capacity to store over 1,320 gallons on site. Meaning, if you have a tank that could hold 1,000 gallons, but is only ever kept half full, it's considered full with 1,000 gallons by the EPA. They regulate any container that is sized 55-gallons and up. So if you have eight 55-gallon tanks of various oils and a 500-gallon heating oil tank, and a 500-gallon gasoline tank, then you need a plan. Just remember containers 55-gallons and larger only. The vast majority of facilities we visit need a plan. But fortunately, there are different kinds, which we'll describe below.
- Underground tanks - There is a threshold for underground storage tanks to trigger the need for a plan, but it's 42,000 gallons, a fairly high amount. However, if you trigger the need with above ground tanks, then you'll have to include your underground tanks, and vice versa.
- Oil or petroleum - You need to consider all your oil and petroleum products. Used oil, waste oil (and there is a difference), bio-oils, bio-fuels, gasoline, diesel, hydraulic oil, motor oil, lubricating oil, etc. etc. You do not have to include grease, diesel exhaust fluid, or antifreeze. The only reason I say that is I see a lot of poorly made plans which include those items. Don't include them, you do not have to.
- Implement a plan meeting the requirements and intent of the regulation - This is basically saying your plan has to adhere to the regulations and address the requirements of the law. Simply put, you can’t just wing it and make something up.
To wrap regulations up, just know there is no permit or approval necessary here. You don’t have to give anyone a copy of your plan for any type of review or approval. You simply figure out you need one, get one developed, and start using it.
There are 3 types of plans which are dependent on the amount of oil you store, any spill history you have at your site, and the size of your storage containers. They are:- For facilities with less than 10,000-gallons of oil and petroleum on-site.
- Tier I SPCC Plans - For facilities with less than 10,000-gallons of oil and petroleum on-site.
- Tier II / Self Certified SPCC Plans - For facilities with less than 10,000-gallons of oil and petroleum on-site, but with at least one tank larger than 5,000-gallons.
- PE Certified Full SPCC Plans - For facilities with more than 10,000-gallons.
From our experience, any plan which is credible and can even closely conform to the regulations are usually between 15 and 100 pages. A simple, smaller facility will have a smaller plan, and a larger, more complex operation will have a larger plan. Makes sense, right?
Just be warned, and I say this because we've seen it dozens and dozens of times, but anyone who gives you a 1 or 2 page document, and tries to convince you that's your plan and it's all you need, doesn't know what they're doing.
Basic Components of a SPCC Plan
Here's an overview of the plan, and what you'll likely find in it:
- Basic facility information - Things like the owner, the location, a description of the operation, the proximity and release pathway to waters of the U.S., contact information, etc.
- Oil & petroleum information - You'll find a detailed identification of tanks, their locations, their contents, storage capacity, secondary containment details, etc.
- Emergency information - Things like police department numbers, emergency responders numbers, hospital locations & phone numbers, EPA spill hotline numbers, your state's environmental agency phone numbers, clean up contractors, critical staff phone numbers, etc. Normally you'll see information as well on how to act in case of a small spill, including actions to perform to slow or stop the release.
- Fueling & filling procedure information - You'll find a section outlining where and when fueling occurs, who does it, security protocols, etc., including procedures for outside contractors who come into your facility to fill or fuel from tanks.
- Current facility information for preventing spills - Are the tanks contained (more about this later)? Are all the fill ports, fuel pumps, etc. locked? Is there spill control equipment and materials readily available? What form of site security is present to safeguard against vandalism? What kind of training occurs to ensure that all facility personnel who handle petroleum in any way understand how to prevent spills and leaks? What training occurs to ensure that all facility personnel know what to do in the event of a spill or leak discharge emergency?
- Inadequacies in the current spill prevention program & how to fix them - What areas dealing with spill prevention and containment are determined to be inadequate at present, and what improvements need to be made and when? For example, if you don't have adequate sized secondary containment for all ASTs, when will it be installed, and of what size? Do you have adequate signage posted on and near storage tanks for identification and safety purposes? Are you conducting inspections? Stuff like that.
- Inspection information - You'll find a discussion of a comprehensive inspection program, to include monthly AST inspections (of all tanks, areas around tanks, fuel and fill lines, all piping, secondary containment areas, potential discharge areas, etc.) as well as a comprehensive annual inspection (including all of the above, as well as additional aspects such as confirmation of training, review of records and other documentation, etc.).
- Regular review & training - You'll need to regularly review the plan and make sure it's up to date. If you move a tank, or get rid of one, or increase your capacity, you'll need to revise your document. Depending on the revisions, sometimes it's necessary to have a professional engineer certify the plan. Additionally, you'll need, at the very least, annual training for your staff who handles oil or petroleum in any way. It's required, and you'll have to keep records of who gets trained, when they get trained, and what they get trained on.
- Other associated documents - Things like how to release water contained within secondary containment (you absolutely do not just open the valve and let it flow out!), other various inspection notes, additional documents related to preventing accidents, etc.
- A section to say "we can't do this" - If for some reason you can't conform to the regulations, you need to explain why. Also, you need to describe how alternative means have been implemented to meet the intent of the regulations (but don't count on this as an easy out from the SPCC requirements).
Sometimes this information can be summed up quickly, and other times it drags on over the course of 100+ pages. It all depends on your facility, your storage capacity, and your spill history.
When I said "are the tanks contained?", that's because part of the regulations require tanks be kept inside of secondary containment. A double-walled tank counts, or a concrete vault type tank counts, or a tank sitting inside appropriately sized, waterproof containment all count as secondary containment.
Appropriately sized generally means the storage area holding the tank can accommodate 110% of the tanks contents (although this requirement has changed a bit for technical reasons, and may in some cases require more than 110%). So, if you have a 1,000-gallon tank inside a storage area made of concrete block walls, sitting on a sealed, solid concrete floor, then that storage area usually should be able to hold 1,100-gallons of whatever's in that tank.
SPCC Annual Inspections (40 cfr 112) - (recommended annual inspection by our field agents under the supervision of our P.E.)
The SPCC rule requires inspections, tests, and evaluations of above ground containers (40 CFR §112.8(c)(6)). Does the rule set schedules for how often these need to be conducted?
The SPCC Rule does not prescribe a specific frequency or methodology for performing the required inspections, evaluations, and tests for aboveground containers. The SPCC Rule is a performance-based regulation that relies on the use of good engineering practices and industry standards. These standards may include testing procedures accepted by the American Petroleum Institute or the Steel Tank Institute, among others. The certifying Professional Engineer (PE) is responsible for establishing procedures for inspections and testing at the facility and attests that the Plan was prepared in accordance with good engineering practices and consideration of industry standards. The PE may also use recommended practices, safety considerations, and requirements of other federal, state, and local regulations. As described in 40 CFR §112.3(d), the PE must attest that a facility's SPCC Plan is effective to satisfy the requirements of the SPCC Rule, and this includes an appropriate inspection program for aboveground containers.
Contingency Plans (40 cfr 109) - (doesn't need to be redone unless flow lines (outside diked area) or wells are added to the facility operations)
Oil Spill Contingency Plans are prepared in accordance with 40 CFR 112.7(d) to address areas of the facility where secondary containment is impracticable, as documented in the facility Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan. The purpose of an Oil Spill Contingency Plan (“Contingency Plan”) is to define procedures and tactics for responding to discharges of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines of the United States, originating more specifically from flow lines. The Contingency Plan is implemented whenever a discharge of oil has reached, or threatens, navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.
The objective of procedures described in this Contingency Plan is to protect the public, "Company" personnel, and other responders during oil discharges. In addition, the Plan is intended to minimize damage to the environment, natural resources, and facility installations from a discharge of oil. This Oil Spill Contingency Plan complements the prevention and control measures presented in the facility’s SPCC Plan by addressing areas of the facility that have inadequate secondary containment and impacts that may result from a discharge from these areas. The facility implements a detailed and stringent flow line maintenance program to prevent leaks from the primary system (in this case, piping). Areas lacking adequate containment at the "Production Facility" include the flow lines that run between the extraction wells and the tank battery area and between the tank battery area and the saltwater disposal area.
Oil Spill Contingency Plans follow the content and organization of 40 CFR part 109 and describes the distribution of responsibilities and basic procedures for responding to an oil discharge and performing cleanup operations.
State Tier II Submissions - (yearly filed with the state)
Known officially as Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms, Tier II Reports are submitted annually to local fire departments, Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) to help those agencies plan for and respond to chemical emergencies.
Soil & Water Testing - Webpage coming soon (call extension 1 for inquiry)
Bioremediation - Webpage coming soon (call extension 1 for inquiry)