What is SPCC?

SPCC means Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure.  The SPCC regulation is issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR 112.  The SPCC regulation contains requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines.

What facilities need an SPCC Plan?

When evaluating if a facility needs a SPCC Plan, there are many different factors that come into play.  Let’s start with a few of the basics.

In order to need an SPCC Plan, all the following criteria must be true:

  • The facility or part of it is considered non-transportation-related;
  • The facility is engaged in drilling, producing, gathering, storing, refining, transferring, distributing or consuming oil;
  • The facility could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines; and
  • The total aboveground oil storage capacity is greater than 1,320 gallons or the total underground oil storage capacity is greater than 42,000 gallons of oil (the storage capacity does not include containers less than 55 gallons, permanently closed storage capacity, motive power containers, or exclusive wastewater treatment containers).

What is Considered a Navigable Water Under SPCC?

One of the above criteria requires the potential for oil discharge to a “navigable water”.  A navigable water is defined by the 1972 Clean Water Act as the following:

  • Interstate waters;
  • Intrastate lakes, rivers, and streams which are utilized by interstate travelers for recreational or other purposes; or
  • Intrastate lakes, rivers, and streams from which fish or shellfish are taken and sold in interstate commerce.

In simpler terms, if a facility has the potential discharge to a larger body of water, it is most likely navigable.  If a facility has the potential discharge to a small body of water (brook, roadside ditch or wetland) and that water eventually runs to another larger body of water, the smaller body of water is likely considered navigable.  A facility doesn’t have to be right next to the body of water either.  If the oil discharge could reach the water body via a storm drain or other mechanism, the facility meets the above “reasonably expected” criteria.

What is Considered Oil Under SPCC?

It is also important to understand that oil, as it’s defined in the regulation, comes in many different forms including:

  • Petroleum Based Oils – Gasoline, diesel fuel, motor, heating, aviation fuels, and hydraulic fluid;
  • Non Petroleum Oils – Animal-based, vegetable, biofuels, seed, nut, fruit and kernel; and
  • Oil Containing Products – Oil-based paints, thinners and inks, petroleum-based parts, and roofing tar

 What are the 3 Types of SPCC Facilities?

If a facility needs an SPCC Plan, it will be classified into one of 3 types of facilities:

  • A Non-Qualified Facility.
  • A Tier I Qualified Facility; or
  • A Tier II Qualified Facility.

The significance is that the allowed method of preparing an SPCC Plan for each type of facility is different.  An SPCC Plan for a Tier I qualified facility the simplest to prepare, followed by an SPCC Plan for a Tier II facility with an SPCC Plan for a non-qualified facility the most time-consuming to prepare.  It is also important to note that if the facility is a farm, there are a number of exceptions to the regulations above.

The following table contains the criteria to classify facilities into Tier I Qualified Facilities and Tier II Qualified Facilities.

If the facility total aboveground oil storage capacity is 10,000 gallons or less…
And… And the facility has… Then the facility is a:
In the three years before the SPCC Plan is certified, the facility has had no discharges to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines as described below:

  • A single discharge of oil greater than 1,000 gallons, or
  • Two discharges of oil each greater than 42 gallons within any 12-month period.
No individual aboveground oil containers greater than 5,000 gallons; Tier I Qualified Facility: 
Complete and self-certify Plan template (Appendix G to 40 CFR part 112) in lieu of a full PE-certified Plan or other self-certified SPCC Plan.
Any individual aboveground oil container greater than 5,000 gallons; Tier II Qualified Facility:
Prepare a self-certified Plan in accordance with all applicable requirements of §112.7 and subparts B or C of the rule, in lieu of a PE-certified Plan.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

If a facility doesn’t meet the criteria of a Tier I or Tier II Qualified Facility because it has more than 10,000 gallons of aboveground petroleum storage or it has had oil spills that meet the above criteria, then it is a Non-Qualified Facility.

What are the Types of SPCC Plans?

Tier I and Tier II Qualified Facilities have the option to prepare “self-certified” SPCC Plans. What that means is that:

  • You are familiar with the SPCC requirements;
  • You have visited and examined the facility;
  • The Plan has been prepared in accordance with accepted and sound industry practices and standards and with the rule requirements as described above;
  • Procedures for required inspections and testing have been established;
  • The Plan is being fully implemented;
  • The facility meets the qualifying criteria;
  • The Plan does not deviate from rule requirements except as allowed and as certified by a PE; and
  • Management approves the Plan and has committed resources to implement it.

Tier I facilities can prepare an SPCC Plan using a relatively simple template provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Tier II facilties must prepare an SPCC Plan in accordance with all applicable requirements of §112.7 and subparts B or C of the rule.  However, the plan does not need to be certified by a Professional Engineer.

A Non-Qualified Facility needs an SPCC Plan prepared in accordance with the applicable requirements of §112.7 and subparts B or C of the rule and the SPCC Plan must be certified by a Professional Engineer.

Need More Information?

If you need more information about SPCC Plans, please contact Omni Environmental Group at 978-256-6766 or Info@OmniEG.com.  Also visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s SPCC website.