Several developments concerning the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations occurred in 2006 and 2007. Thoughtful planning and continued tracking of these developments will be necessary to ensure compliance.
EPA revised the SPCC plan requirements in 2006 to:
- Provide the option to self-certify SPCC Plans in lieu of review and certification by a Professional Engineer for facilities that have an aboveground oil storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or less and meet other qualifying criteria.
- Provide an alternative to the general secondary containment requirement without requiring a determination of impracticability for qualified oil-filled operational equipment.
- Define and exempt particular vehicle fuel tanks and other on-board bulk oil storage containers (called motive power containers).
- Exempt mobile refuelers from the sized secondary containment requirements for bulk storage containers.
- Remove SPCC requirements for animal fats and vegetable oils for certain types of facilities.
- Extend the SPCC compliance dates for farms.
A final rule in 2007 extends the compliance dates for owners and operators of facilities to prepare or amend and implement SPCC Plans in accordance with both prior 2002 amendments and the 2006 amendments until July 1, 2009 (72 Fed. Reg. 27443).
The purpose of the extension is to allow the owner or operator time to prepare or amend and implement the SPCC Plan in accordance with the July 2002 (67 Fed. Reg. 47042, July 17, 2002) and December 2006 (71 Fed. Reg. 77266, December 26, 2006) amendments. A further purpose was to allow facilities to prepare for any subsequent modifications to the SPCC requirements that would result from additional substantive requirements that were anticipated to be proposed later in 2007. In fact, EPA did propose additional refinements to the rule in October 2007 (72 Fed. Reg. 58378, October 15, 2007).
The October 2007 proposed rule has numerous amendments. All SPCC-regulated facilities (not just oil production facilities) would be potentially affected by these proposals. EPA’s summary of the proposal states that the amendments will provide:
- clarity on the general secondary containment requirements;
- flexibility in the security requirements;
- flexibility in the use of industry standards to comply with integrity testing requirements;
- additional flexibility in meeting the facility diagram requirements; and
- clarity on the flexibility provided by the definition of “facility.”
In addition, the October 2007 proposal has amendments specific to oil production facilities that:
- exclude oil production facilities from the loading/unloading rack requirements;
- modify the definition of “production facility”, consistent with the proposed amendments to the definition of “facility”;
- extend the timeframe by which a new oil production facility must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan;
- exempt flow-through process vessels at oil production facilities from the sized secondary containment requirements, while maintaining general secondary containment requirements and requiring additional oil spill prevention measures;
- exempt flowlines and intra-facility gathering lines at oil production facilities from all secondary containment requirements, while establishing more specific oil spill prevention measures; and
- clarify the definition of “permanently closed” as it applies to an oil production facility.
Other proposed revisions to the SPCC rule included in the 2007 proposed rule relate specifically to farms and facilities handling animal fats and vegetable oils. The proposed rule can be viewed in its entirety here.