Spill Control & Countermeasures Plans (SPCC)

What is a Spill Control & Countermeasures Plan?
A Spill Control and Countermeasures plan, or SPCC plan, is a plan developed by certain facilities as a requirement put in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plan includes oil spill prevention, control and countermeasure. Oil spill contingency plans typically address spill cleanup measures after a spill, but a SPCC plan ensures that facilities put a plan in place for containment and other countermeasures to help prevent oil spills that could reach navigable waters. According to the EPA's Oil Pollution Prevention regulations, these facilities must detail and implement spill prevention and control measures in their SPCC plans. If a facility is unable to provide secondary containment, then a spill contingency plan is also required. In summary, the SPCC plan will describe how a facility intends to operate, how the facility will prevent spills and what the facility will do to handle a spill if one occurred.

Does Your Facility Need A Spill Control & Countermeasures Plan?
In 1973, EPA issued the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation, which is codified at 40 CFR Part 112, to address the oil spill prevention provisions contained in the Clean Water Act of 1972. The regulation forms the basis of EPA's oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasures, or SPCC, program, which seeks to prevent oil spills from certain aboveground and underground storage tanks. In particular, the regulation applies to non-transportation-related facilities that:

  • Have an aggregate storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons; and
  • Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities into navigable waters of the United States.

The regulation requires each owner or operator of a regulated facility to prepare an SPCC Plan. The Plan is required to address the facility's design, operation, and maintenance procedures established to prevent spills from occurring, as well as countermeasures to control, contain, clean up, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that could affect navigable waters.

What Does the SPCC Plan Include?

  • Each SPCC plan is unique to the facility. The plan must include specific standard elements to ensure compliance with regulations. An understanding of potential effects of an oil spill; as well as detailed knowledge of the facility are necessary when developing a plan. The SPCC Plan should include the information and sequence outlined below:
  • A facility which has experienced one or more spill events within twelve months prior to the effective date of this part should include a written description of each such spill, corrective action taken, and plans for preventing recurrence.
    A prediction of the direction, rate of flow, and total quantity of oil that could be discharged where experience indicates a potential for equipment failure.
  • A description of containment and/or diversionary structures or equipment to prevent discharged oil from reaching navigable waters. (For on-shore facilities, one of the following should be used as a minimum: dikes, berms, or retaining walls; curbing; culverting, gutters, or other drainage systems; weirs, booms, or other barriers; spill diversion ponds; retention ponds; sorbent materials.)
  • Where appropriate, a demonstration that containment and/or diversionary structures or equipment are not practical and a strong oil spill contingency plan and a written commitment of manpower, equipment, and materials to quickly control and remove spilled oil.
    A complete discussion of the spill prevention and control measures applicable to the facility and/or its operations.

What Can Great Plains Environmental Do To Help You?
Today Great Plains Environmental is one of a few environmental service providers who specialize in petroleum impacts on the environment. Great Plains Environmental can help you put in place a plan which will prevent the many issues associated with an accidental spill. When combined with our comprehensive environmental solution offering, we are able to serve all of your environmental management and compliance needs, from prevention, to detection, to resolution.

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