National Contingency Plan Subpart J
One of EPA’s top priorities is to prevent, prepare for, and respond to oil spills that occur in and around inland waters of the United States. EPA is the lead federal response agency for oil spills occurring in inland waters. The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead response agency for spills in coastal waters and deepwater ports. Subpart J of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) directs EPA to prepare a schedule of dispersants, other chemicals, and oil spill mitigating devices and substances that may be used to remove or control oil discharges.
The is also available for download in its entirety.
EPA maintains the NCP Product Schedule, which lists the following types of products that are authorized for use on oil discharges:
- Surface washing agents
- Surface collecting agents
- Bioremediation agents
- Miscellaneous oil spill control agents
The presents manufacturer's summary information on the conditions under which each of the products is recommended to be used. Manufacturer information may provide handling and worker precautions, storage information, recommended application procedures, physical properties, and toxicity, effectiveness, or other analyses.
Disclaimer: The listing of a product on the Product Schedule does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of the product on an oil discharge. The listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by Subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Section 300.915. (Source: 40 CFR § 300.920 (e))
There is an established process that manufacturers must follow to have a product listed on the NCP Product Schedule.
- Begin by reviewing data requirements in section 300.915 of Subpart J of the NCP Product Schedule.
- Determine product category (e.g., dispersant, surface washing agent, etc.)
- Fulfill each of the data requirements for selected product category, including effectiveness and toxicity testing (if applicable). If you need assistance locating a laboratory to help fulfill these requirements, please call the NCP Product Schedule Information Line at (202) 260-2342.
- Send a hard copy of all data requirements for review to:
NCP Product Schedule Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
William Jefferson Clinton North Building - Mail Code 5104-A
Washington, D.C. 20460
- If you have further questions or require more information, please call the NCP Product Schedule Information Line at (202) 260-2342.
EPA received comments on the proposed amendments to Subpart J of the NCP to clarify and update the Product Schedule listing procedures. These updates include effectiveness and toxicity testing. Comments were received on or before April 22, 2015. The compiled comments will be addressed in the final rule.
- NCP Subpart J: Use of Dispersants and Other Chemicals - 40 CFR 300.900 - 300.920 (PDF)
- NCP: Definitions - 40 CFR 300.5
- September 15, 1994: National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Final Rule. 59 FR 47384
Subpart J Monitoring Requirements
On July 6, 2021, EPA finalized monitoring requirements under Subpart J of the NCP for dispersant use in response to major oil discharges and certain dispersant use situations in the navigable waters of the United States and adjoining shorelines.
The Agency considered public comments relative to the monitoring provisions prior to publishing the final monitoring requirements. The remaining provisions in the 2015 proposed amendments remain under consideration.
For the products on the schedule, EPA provides NCP Product Schedule Toxicity and Effectiveness Summaries for each product category. Appendix C to 40 CFR part 300 describes methods for required effectiveness and toxicity tests for specific product categories. See: 40 CFR part 300 Appendix C (PDF) (22 pp, 284 K, About PDF)
Sorbents are defined in the National Contingency Plan Subpart J, but the regulation does not require their inclusion on the NCP Product Schedule if they meet the regulatory definition. Manufacturers may write a letter with confidential business information to EPA and receive an official letter stating that their product meets the regulatory definition of a sorbent. This letter can be shared with the Federal On-Scene Coordinator of an oil spill to verify the sorbent composition. Chemical-based sorbents are classified as Miscellaneous Oil Spill Control Agents on the NCP Product Schedule. Sorbents must always be removed from oil spills and be disposed of properly.
Note: Products may be eligible for recognition by EPA's Safer Choice (previously the Design for the Environment) program as a safer oil spill treatment. The Safer Choice program labels products that have met its stringent criteria for human health and environmental safety. Requirements for Safer Choice labeling and NCP Product Schedule listing are different. Fulfillment of Safer Choice criteria does not constitute meeting provisions for listing a product on the NCP Product Schedule; and vice versa.
The listing of a product on the NCP Product Schedule does not constitute approval of the product. To avoid possible misinterpretation or misrepresentation, any label, advertisement, or technical literature that refers to the placement of the product on the NCP Product Schedule must either reproduce in its entirety EPA's written statement that it will add the product to the NCP Product Schedule under Sec. 300.920(a)(2) or (b)(2), or include the disclaimer shown below. If the disclaimer is used, it must be conspicuous and must be fully reproduced. Failure to comply with these restrictions or any other improper attempt to demonstrate the approval of the product by any National Response Team (NRT) or other U.S. Government agency shall constitute grounds for removing the product from the NCP Product Schedule. [40 CFR 300.920(e)]
[PRODUCT NAME] is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's NCP Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of [PRODUCT NAME] on an oil discharge. This listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Sec. 300.915.
Reminders for Manufacturers of Listed Products
For manufacturers of products listed on the NCP Product Schedule, EPA has provided a list of Subpart J Manufacturer Reminders for inclusion of the Subpart J product disclaimer statement, removal of EPA’s logo from documentation, and making changes to contact information.
- Environmental Monitoring for Atypical Dispersant Operations: Including Guidance for Subsea Application and Prolonged Surface Application – This guidance was approved by the NRT to assist On–Scene Coordinators and Regional Response Teams in making incident–specific and planning decisions regarding environmental monitoring for atypical dispersant operations.
- See NCP Subpart J Product Schedule Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Call the NCP Product Schedule Information Line at (202) 260-2342.