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Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan Revisions Required
by Larry Hands

The US EPA has promulgated a final rule changing the SPCC plan requirements. This is an oil pollution prevention rule under the Clean Water Act. It establishes procedures, methods, equipment and other requirements to prevent the discharge of oil.

Good news; applicable facilities only need to review the SPCC plan once every 5 years (rather than every 3 years). Therefore the EPA expects that the regulatory burden is reduced by 40 percent. Also, the threshold has been raised to at least 1,320 gallons of storage in containers bigger than 55 gallons, rather than a 660 gallon threshold in any one container.

Bad news; as part of this change, all applicable facilities need to immediately develop or update their SPCC plan. The EPA realized that their original time requirement was too tight, so they keep extended the deadline for updating the SPCC Plan. Now it needs to be revised by August 17, 2004 . A significant reason for the change was the limited availability of Professional Engineers with appropriate knowledge of the rules.

I can distill the changes in the rules to two basic issues. As part of the “plain English” executive order, US EPA has changed “should” to “must.” In addition, the US EPA has added specificity to the Professional Engineer’s attestation. The certification of the PE goes from “in accordance with good engineering practice” to “in accordance with part 112 requirements and industry standards.” The professional engineer that certifies the plan needs to spend a good deal of time to ensure that the certification is valid, in addition, the professional engineer needs to see that the facility has procedures in place to implement the plan.

Hands & Associates, Inc. has Professional Engineers on staff with experience in modifying plans to meet the requirements of the new rules. Give us a call if you are subject to this rule and need assistance.