Common Questions:

What are considered navigable waters?

Section 502 (7) of the EWPCA defines navigable waters as the waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Coast Guard interpretation includes not only the traditionally recognized navigable waters but all streams, creeks, lakes, playa lakes, prairie potholes, wet meadows, mudflats, sand flats, and ponds connected to the tributary system in a river basin.  The definition of WOTUS has been contested in the courts. Rely on your regulatory specialist to assist you on whether your facility is within compliance.

What are the Certification Requirements?

You must use a Registered Professional Engineer to prepare the SPCC Spill Plan and Contingency Plan. The PE must be registered in at least one state and does not have to be registered in the State in which the facility is located. The PE should be familiar with the provisions of 40 CFR 112 and he/she, or a trained representative (SPCC Plans, LLC has many professionally trained representatives), must have examined the facility.

What is the purpose of an SPCC plan?

An SPCC plan is designed to prevent oil spills to occur and/or from reaching navigable waters if it occurs.  It also is designed to minimize the impact if a spill does occur. The plan should outline the counter measures and control to protect the environment and comply with regulatory requirements if one occurs.  In addition, the SPCC Plan is required to be accompanied by a Contingency Plan.

How often should an SPCC plan be reviewed and updated?

SPCC plans must be reviewed every five years or whenever there are significant changes to the facility, its operations, or applicable regulations.  Any change to the plan itself must be prepared and certified by a Registered Engineer (PE).  Additionally, the facility must be inspected annually to identify potential issues that are not consistent with the plan (such as dike heights).  This Annual inspection can be done by anyone except the pumper.

What are the consequences of not having an SPCC plan?

A Spill plan is similar to a Driver's License.  You can both operate a vehicle and be an oil and gas Operator without one.  However, when you are stopped for speeding or lose containment of a hydrocarbon, there will be significant monetary penalties.  Failure to develop and implement an SPCC plan can result in significant penalties, including fines and legal action by regulatory agencies. In addition to regulatory non-compliance, a lack of an effective SPCC plan can lead to environmental damage, cleanup costs, and damage to the company's reputation.

Can smaller facilities be exempt from SPCC requirements?

Certain small facilities may qualify for exemptions or reduced requirements under the SPCC regulations. These exemptions are typically based on factors such as storage capacity, location, and the potential impact of a spill on navigable waters. However, it's essential to consult with regulatory authorities or an environmental consultant to determine eligibility for exemptions and ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

Do I have to have a new SPCC Plan Done every 5 years?

Not necessarily.  If the facility has not changed, it simply has to be reviewed and noted that there have been no changes to the facility.  In this case the  plan is still valid.  We provide a review page in our plan so the client can review and document the review.  However, if the facility has changed since the original/previous SPCC Plan, a new one is necessary to be in full compliance.