Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Enforcement in New England

Oil Spills/SPCC Enforcement Program

The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990, part of which amended Section 311 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), expanded the role of the federal government in both preventing and responding to oil spills, and in assuring that those responsible pay damages and are subject to severe penalties for such spills. Section 311(b)(3) of the CWA prohibits the discharge of threshold amounts of oil or hazardous substances to navigable waters of the United States. To reduce the likelihood of a spill, regulations issued under CWA Section 311(j) (published at 40 CFR Part 112) require facilities that store oil in significant amounts to prepare spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) plans and to adopt certain measures to keep accidental releases from reaching navigable waters. Certain types of facilities that pose a greater risk of release must also develop plans to respond promptly to clean up any spills that do occur.

Jump to main content.