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. Under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), 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 governs the use of chemical and biological agents for oil spill responses in both inland and coastal zones.
NCP Subpart J Regulations
Subpart J establishes a schedule that includes the NCP Product Schedule identifying chemical and biological agents, dispersant monitoring requirements, and the authorization of use procedures that, when taken together, identify the waters and quantities in which such dispersants, other chemicals, or other spill mitigating devices and substances may be used safely.
Subpart J Product Listing and Authorization of Use Requirements
Requirements - Effective December 11, 2023.
- NCP: Definitions - 40 CFR 300.5
- NCP Subpart J: Use of Dispersants, and Other Chemical and Biological Agents - 40 CFR 300.900 – 300.970, Appendix C
- § 300.900 General.
- § 300.910 Authorization for agent use.
- § 300.915 Data and information requirements for listing on the NCP Product Schedule or Sorbent Product List.
- § 300.950 Submission of Proprietary Business Information.
- § 300.955 Addition of a Product to the NCP Product Schedule or Sorbent Product List.
- § 300.965 Mandatory Product Disclaimer.
- § 300.970 Removal of a Product from the NCP Product Schedule or Sorbent Product List.
- Appendix C to Part 300 - Requirements for Product Testing Protocols and Summary Test Data: Dispersant Baffled Flask Efficacy and Toxicity Tests; Standard Acute Toxicity Test for Bioremediation Agents, Surface Washing Agents, Herding Agents, and Solidifiers; and Bioremediation Agent Efficacy Test.
Subpart J Monitoring Requirements
Current Requirements - Effective January 24, 2022.
- National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Final Rule. September 15, 1994; 59 FR 47384
- National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Proposed Rule. January 22, 2015; 80 FR 3380
- National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; Monitoring Requirements for Use of Dispersants and Other Chemicals; Final Rule. July 27, 2021; 86 FR 40234
- Environmental Monitoring for Atypical Dispersant Operations: Including Guidance for Subsea Application and Prolonged Surface Application
The NCP Product Schedule (December 2023) (PDF) is also available for download in its entirety.
EPA maintains the NCP Product Schedule, which lists the following types of products that may be considered for use authorization by an On-Scene Coordinator on oil discharges in accordance with the NCP:
- Surface washing agents
- Surface collecting agents
- Bioremediation agents
- Miscellaneous oil spill control agents
The NCP Product Schedule Technical Notebook (December 2023) (PDF) 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:
Attention: NCP Product Schedule Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Mail Code: 5104-A, Room 1448K
William Jefferson Clinton North Building
Washington, DC 20460
- If you have further questions or require more information, please call the NCP Product Schedule Information Line at (202) 260-2342.
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 regulated under the National Contingency Plan Subpart J.
Current Requirements – Effective until December 11, 2023
Manufacturers may provide product information to EPA and receive an official letter when 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. Sorbent products that meet the regulatory definition are not included on the NCP Product Schedule.
Amended Requirements - Effective December 11, 2023.
EPA will make publicly available a Sorbent Product List that includes known, non-proprietary sorbents separate from the NCP Product Schedule. Manufacturers of sorbent products with components other than those specifically identified in the rule as non-proprietary sorbents may submit data and information requirements for EPA to consider those products for inclusion on the Sorbent Product List.
The listing of a product on the NCP Product Schedule does not constitute approval or recommendation of the product. To avoid possible misinterpretation or misrepresentation, any label, advertisement, or technical literature for products on the NCP Product Schedule must display in its entirety the disclaimer shown below. The disclaimer must be conspicuous and must be fully reproduced on all product literatures, labels, and electronic media including website pages [40 CFR 300.965]. Failure to print the disclaimer provided in § 300.965 on all labels, advertisements, technical literature, or electronic media for products listed on the NCP Product Schedule shall constitute grounds for removing the product from the NCP Product Schedule [40 CFR 300.970].
[PRODUCT NAME] is on the National Contingency Plan (NCP) Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, or certifies 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 NCP. Only a Federal On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) may authorize use of this product in accordance with Subpart J of the NCP in response to an oil discharge.
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.
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.
- Call the NCP Product Schedule Information Line at (202) 260-2342.