Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) for the Upstream (Oil Exploration and Production) Sector
Due to the danger oil spills cause to public health and the environment, every effort must be made to prevent oil spills and to clean them up promptly once they occur. The purpose of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule is to help facilities prevent a discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The SPCC rule requires facilities to develop, maintain, and implement an oil spill prevention plan, called an SPCC Plan. These Plans help facilities prevent oil spill, as well as control a spill should one occur.
If you have additional questions about the SPCC program, please call our Oil Information Center at (800) 424-9346 or TDD (800) 553-7672.
- A Facility Owner/Operator's Guide to Oil Pollution Prevention
- SPCC Basics Presentation provides a brief overview of the SPCC program.
- SPCC Rule: Train-the-Trainer for the Production Sector provides organizations with materials to hold trainings to raise awareness of the SPCC rule.
- Fact Sheet: Oil Discharge Reporting Requirements
Tier I Template, is intended to help the owner or operator of a Tier I qualified facility develop a self-certified SPCC Plan. See also: Is My Facility a "Qualified Facility" under the SPCC Rule?
State Professional Engineer (PE) licensing board contacts - This list will help you contact your state licensing board, which can then help you locate a PE should your plan require one.
EPA Contacts - should you need further assistance.
- Who is responsible for holding and maintaining an SPCC Plan?
- Is my facility covered by SPCC?
- How do I determine if my facility could reasonably discharge oil into or upon navigable waters or adjoining shorelines?
- If the oil storage capacity on the facility is less than 10,000 gallons total, can a facility self-certify a plan and do regular self-inspections and be in compliance?
The SPCC rule requires the owner or operator of the facility prepare and implement an SPCC Plan. The Plan must be maintained at the location of the facility that is normally attended at least four hours per day.
SPCC applies to a facility that:
- Stores, transfers, uses or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat; and
- Stores more than 1,320 U.S. gallons in total of all aboveground containers (only count containers with 55 gallons or greater storage capacity) or more than 42,000 gallons in completely buried containers; and
- Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines, such as lakes, rivers and streams.
3. How do I determine if my facility could reasonably discharge oil into or upon navigable waters or adjoining shorelines?
You can determine this by considering the geography and location of your facility relative to nearby navigable waters (such as lakes, rivers, streams, creeks and other waterways) or adjoining shorelines. You should consider if ditches, gullies, storm sewers or other drainage systems may transport an oil spill to nearby navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. Estimate the volume of oil that could be spilled in an incident and how that oil might drain or flow from your facility and the soil conditions or geographic features that might affect the flow toward navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.
Also you may want to consider whether precipitation runoff could transport oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. You may not take into account manmade features such as:
- or other structures that might prevent, contain, hinder, or restrain the flow of oil.
Assume these manmade features are not present when making your determination. If you consider the applicable factors described above and determine a spill can reasonably flow to a waterway, navigable water or adjoining shorelines, then you must comply with the SPCC rule.
4. If the oil storage capacity on the facility is less than 10,000 gallons total, can a facility self-certify a plan and do regular self-inspections and be in compliance?
Yes, and you do not have to file the plan with EPA. If over 10,000 gallons in total oil storage capacity, you will need a professional engineer to certify your plan.
Additional information for Natural Gas Processing Facilities
- June 2010 letter from the American Petroleum Institute (API) concerning API’s SPCC guidance document and template, Suggested Procedure for Development of a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan, API Bulletin D-16 (SPCC concerns related to gas plants)
- December 2010 letter from EPA to API in response