The SPCC Rule

March 11, 2016
By Brian Schefke

If your business stores oil on site, you may be subject to the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule. The intent of this rule, established in 1973, is to prevent oil spills from reaching navigable waters and nearby shorelines, as well as to mitigate any direct spills in water and shoreline areas.

A facility is subject to the SPCC Rule if:

• The total aggregate aboveground capacity of the facility’s oil containers is greater than 1,320 gallons, and/or;
• The total aggregate capacity of the facility’s buried oil storage containers is greater than 42,000 gallons.

To comply with the SPCC Rule, a facility must:

• Take preventive action against spills (for example, proper containers, secondary containment for aboveground oil tanks, etc).
• Create and implement an SPCC plan.

Some important elements of an SPCC plan include:

• A diagram and description of the facility.
• A list of on-site containers and their capacities.
• Transfer and handling procedures.
• A description of secondary containment measures.
• Procedures for reporting spills.
• Certification by a Professional Engineer (PE), as applicable.

A facility subject to the SPCC Rule, but whose total aboveground storage capacity is 10,000 gallons or less, may comply with the Rule as either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Qualified Facility. In addition to the storage requirement, a facility cannot have a single discharge of oil greater than 1,000 gallons to waters or shorelines or two discharges of oil greater than 42 gallons to waters or shorelines within any 12-month period. Tier 1 and 2 Qualified Facilities can self-certify their SPCC plans, and do not require certification by a PE.

Bear in mind that the SPCC Rule is a federal regulation—oil spill prevention regulations at the state level may also impact your facility, even if the SPCC Rule does not apply.

If you would like to know more about the SPCC Rule, or would like assistance in complying with the Rule, contact Freer Consulting at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.