EPA has extended the date that agricultural facilities must come into compliance with the new Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule to May 10, 2013. Agricultural facilities that began storing oil before August 16, 2002 must revise their SPCC plan to meet the 2002 changes by the May 2013 deadline.
EPA’s SPCC program was developed to prevent oil spills. Agricultural facilities can reduce the risk of oil discharged from their tanks by developing containment and response plans and taking basic precautions. The rule requires agricultural operators have an SPCC Plan if:
- The facility stores more than 1,320 gallons of oil or fuel in above ground tanks and/or containers; and
- A release of oil could reasonably be expected to discharge into waters of the U.S.
Oil includes on-road and off-road diesel; gasoline; lubrication oils; hydraulic oils; crop oil; adjuvant oils; oil sludge; synthetic oils; oil refuse; oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil; animal fats; vegetable oils; and fish oils.
Additionally, if the containers are located on separate parcels or a significant distance from each other, they may be considered separate facilities when calculating whether the threshold is met. For example:
- A farm has five greenhouses located adjacent to each other and each has a 300 gallon fuel oil Aboveground Storage Tank (AST). It would usually be considered one facility, and the volume of each AST would count toward the total aggregate volume of 1,500 gallons. It is an SPCC regulated facility because the aggregate volume exceeds 1,320 gallons.
- Another farm has five greenhouses with 500 gallon ASTs, three are located on one parcel and two on a second parcel. This configuration may be considered two facilities. The first facility has an aggregate volume of 1,500 gallons and would be SPCC regulated. The second facility has an aggregate volume of 1,000 gallons and would not be SPCC regulated.
There are several exemptions for agricultural operations. These include: milk and milk product containers, associated piping, and appurtenances; home heating oil tanks at single family homes; pesticide containers used to mix and load formulations; and pesticide application equipment.
The recent Rule changes also allow agricultural operations that store 10,000 gallons of oil or less and meet the Tier 1 or 2 qualified facility requirements to prepare and self-certify their SPCC Plan. Although anyone can use the templates, not all states allow self-certification For example, New Hampshire requires all SPCC Plans to be certified by a professional engineer.