The Clean Water Act, a federal statute, regulates discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and sets the framework for establishing quality standards for surface waters. Under the Clean Water Act, specific facilities must prepare and implement Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans, which are intended to prevent oil from reaching navigable waterways and shorelines, and to provide for rapid response and containment of oil in the event of an accidental release.

The SPCC rules apply to any owner or operator of a non-transportation-related facility engaged in drilling, producing, gathering, storing, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using, or consuming oil and oil products, which due to its location, could be reasonably expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities into navigable waters of the United States.  In general, the SPCC rule applies to a facility that has more than 42,000 gallons of completely buried storage capacity or more than 1,320 gallons of aggregate aboveground storage capacity (not counting containers less than 55 gallons).  Certain exemptions may apply.

If you use oil products in excess of the amounts specified above, you should be aware of the deadlines and SPCC plan requirements applicable to your operations.  There have been significant changes in this regulatory program over the past decade.  We have experience in working with clients to prepare and implement SPCC plans, as well as evaluate facility operations to determine if SPCC plans can be avoided by altering the storage and use of oil products. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Links of Interest:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SPCC website