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Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC)

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Contact: Mick Hans (hans.mick@epa.gov) Chief, Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention or call 312-353-5050


National Information

US EPA's Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation was published in the Federal Register on December 11, 1973 and was promulgated under Section 311(j)(1)(C) of the Clean Water Act. It was amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

An SPCC plan must be prepared by all facilities subject to regulation. This plan is to help prevent any discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The main thrust of the SPCC regulation is prevention as opposed to after-the-fact reactive measures commonly described in Oil Spill Contingency Plans.

Who is regulated by the SPCC regulations?

Before a facility is subject to the SPCC rule, it must meet three criteria:

  1. it must be non-transportation-related;
  2. it must have an aggregate aboveground storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons; and
  3. there must be a reasonable expectation of a discharge into or upon navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.

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Who prepares the SPCC plan?

Preparation of the SPCC Plan is the responsibility of the facility owner or operator, or it can be prepared by an engineer or consultant but it must be certified by a registered Professional Engineer (PE). By certifying the SPCC Plan, the Professional Engineer, having examined the facility, attests that:

  1. (s)he is familiar with the requirements of Part 112;
  2. the engineer or their agent has visited and examined the facility;
  3. the Plan has been prepared in accordance with good engineering practices, including consideration of applicable industry standards, and with the requirements of Part 112;
  4. procedures for required inspections and testing have been established; and
  5. the Plan is adequate for the facility.

Please note that if your facility stores less than 10,000 gallons of oil, you may qualify to self-certify your SPCC Plan. For further information please visit SPCC Qualified Facility Fact Sheet (PDF) (4pg 103K)

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What is a non-transportation related facility?

These facilities (including all equipment and appurtenances) may include, but are not limited to:

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What is considered as oil storage capacity?

Oil storage includes all containers storing oil at a facility which are equal to or greater than 55 gallons. The capacity of the containers (maximum or shell capacity) must be considered and not the actual amount of product stored in the container. Oil storage containers include, but are not limited to,

A facility may be subject to SPCC regulations if they have at least one of the following oil storage capacities:

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What is an oil?

Under the SPCC regulations, oil is defined as

"oil of any kind or in any form including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil and oily mixtures."

This also includes non-petroleum oils, synthetic oils, animal fats, oils and greases, and vegetable oils.

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How do I determine if my facility could reasonably discharge oil into or upon navigable waters or adjoining shorelines?

This determination is based upon a consideration of the geographical and locational aspects of the facility. The location of the facility must be considered in relation to streams, ponds and ditches (perennial or intermittent), storm or sanitary sewers, wetlands, mudflats, sandflats or farm tile drains. The distance to navigable waters, volume of material stored, worst case weather conditions, drainage patters, land contours, soil conditions, etc., must also be taken into account. Further, according to the regulation, this determination shall not include consideration of man-made features such as dikes, equipment or other structures (like levees) that may serve to restrain, hinder, contain or prevent an oil discharge.

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What do I have to do now?

Facilities that meet the three criteria (non-transportation related facility, have sufficient storage capacity, and could reasonably discharge to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines) must comply with the SPCC regulations. The SPCC regulations require the facility owner/operator to prepare and implement an SPCC plan for their facility. This plan must be well thought out and prepared in accordance with good engineering practices.

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