SPCC Requirements and Introduction

What is an SPCC Plan?

SPCC plans are written documents that describe the steps a facility must take to prevent oil spills and to minimize the risk of harm to surface waters in the event of a release or oil spill. SPCC Plans are a requirement of the Federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation found in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 112.

Do I Really Need An SPCC Plan?

SPCC Plans are required for facilities that manage oil in quantities as described below and from which an oil spill could reach navigable waters. The term “Oil”, includes; petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, heating oil, motor oil both used and new, and hydraulic oil.

An SPCC Plan is required for a facility where:

  1. The total underground buried storage capacity of the facility is 42,000 gallons or more of oil, or
  2. the total above ground storage capacity is 1,320 gallons or more of oil, or
  3. if a single above ground container has a capacity of 660 gallons or more of oil, and
  4. due to the facilities location, the facility could reasonably be expected to discharge oil into a navigable water way.

What is a Navigable Water?

The definition varies from agency to agency. As a rule of thumb, if you can float a canoe in it, it’s a navigable water way.

When considering whether a facility has the potential to discharge oil to a navigable water, only the location of the nearest navigable water and potential route to that water should be considered. The presence of secondary containment as a means of preventing the discharge can not be considered. Factors such as volume of oil stored, distance to navigable water and annual rainfall should be considered.

What are the SPCC Plan Requirements?

The requirements for an SPCC Plan are not related to the facilities generator status or the handling of waste as regulated under RCRA or CERCLA. For facilities where an SPCC Plan is required, it should overlap with other plans that might also be required, such as a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP). Click here to learn how your Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan should overlap with your Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, SWPPP.

For facilities requiring an SPCC Plan, the Plan must be prepared in accordance with 40 CFR 112.7. The Plan must be reviewed and certified by a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) who has actually examined the facility. The SPCC Plan must be updated and re-certified every three years or with in six months of any changes to the facility. Changes include any modifications to tanks or to piping. New facilities have six months to fully implement an SPCC Plan.

The SPCC Plan need not be submitted to the regulatory agency, but must be maintained at the facility at all times and may be reviewed during state or federal inspections. Owners or operators of new facilities must prepare an SPCC plan within six months after the date the facility begins operations and must implement the plan as soon as possible but not later than one year after the facility begins operations.

A properly prepared Plan must:

  • Be kept on site.
  • Be certified by a Registered Professional Engineer.
  • Have full management approval, signature required.
  • and must discuss
  • Spill history of the facility
  • Spill Scenarios.
  • Spill Containment.
  • Facility Drainage.
  • Location of Nearest Navigable Water.
  • Bulk Storage Tanks.
  • Facility loading and unloading operations.
  • Loading and unloading areas.
  • Inspections and Records.
  • Security.
  • Personal Training.
  • Spill response Procedures.

Do I need a Facility Response Plan (FRP)?

Only if your facility transfers oil over water to or from vessels and has a total oil storage capacity, including both aboveground (AST) and underground (UST) greater than or equal to 42,000 gallons; or

  • The facility’s total oil storage capacity, including both ASTs and USTs, is greater than or equal to one million gallons, and one of the following is true:
  • The facility lacks secondary containment that is able to contain the capacity of the largest AST within each storage area plus freeboard to allow for precipitation;
  • The facility is located at a distance such that a discharge could cause injury to an environmentally sensitive area;
  • The facility is located at a distance such that a discharge would shut down a public drinking water intake; or
  • The facility has had a reportable spill greater than or equal to 10,000 gallons within the last five years.

All facilities must document the determination of substantial harm by completing the “Certification of the Applicability of the Substantial Harm Criteria Checklist,” Attachment C-II in Appendix C of 40 CFR 112. This certification should be signed by management or the owner and kept with the facility’s SPCC plan.