News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

U.S. EPA Streamlines Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

On November 13, 2009, U.S. EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register that streamlines the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (“SPCC”) rule.  The purpose of the SPCC rule is to help prevent discharges of oil from storage containers into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

A facility is subject to the SPCC rule if it meets three criteria: “(1) it must be non-transportation-related; (2) it must have an aggregate aboveground storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons; and (3) there must be a reasonable expectation of a discharge into or upon navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.”

The new rule becomes effective on January 14, 2010, and changes the original SPCC rule in many ways, including:

• Exemption for hot-mix asphalt;

• Exemption for pesticide application equipment and related mix containers that may currently be subject to the SPCC rule when crop oil or adjuvant oil is added to pesticide formulations;

• Exemption for residential heating oil containers;

• Amendment of the definition of ‘‘facility’’ to clarify that contiguous or non-contiguous buildings, properties,
parcels, leases, structures, installations, pipes, or pipelines may be considered separate facilities;

• Amendment of the facility diagram requirement to clarify how containers, fixed and mobile, are identified on the facility diagram;

• Amendment of the general secondary containment requirements to clarify the scope of secondary containment so that an owner or operator need only take into consideration the typical failure mode, and most likely quantity of oil that would be discharged, consistent with current Agency guidance;

• Amendment of the facility security requirements to allow an owner or operator of a facility to tailor his security measures to the facility’s specific characteristics and location;

• Amendment to allow an owner or operator to consult and rely on industry standards to determine the appropriate qualifications for personnel performing tests and inspections, as well as the type and frequency of integrity testing required for a particular container size and configuration;

• Clarification of the definition of ‘‘permanently closed’’ as it applies to oil production facilities and containers
present at an oil production facility.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.

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