The federal clean water act requires that any facility that has a potential for oil spills to take all steps possible to prevent oil discharge to our nations waters through the implementation of a Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan. Any facility that stores more than 1,320 gallons of oil in an aboveground storage tank is required to develop and implement the SPCC.
EPA recently sent out a news release about a local fuel storage and distribution company facing possible fines for violations of the Clean Water Act as it was unprepared to carry out its Facility Response Plan.
Norfolk Ram is experienced in developing SPCC plans and understands the regulations of the Clean Water Act so we can assist our clients to comply with all applicable regulations. Beyond just creating an SPCC plan that may sit on a shelf somewhere, Norfolk Ram will tailor a site-specific plan with useful and applicable information and will work with the client and provide training if necessary to help the client know to how handle a potential spill. Part of the reason that local fuel company is facing fines was due to the fact that its employees were not adequately trained, and the facility had an unsuccessful response to a unnannounced oil spill simulation at its site.
To learn more about SPCC plans, areas regulated, and the information needed, please download our SPCC Compliance Kit and feel free to contact Brian Moran or Wayne Perry, P.E> at (508) 747-7900 extensions 189 and 193 to discuss SPCC plans.
Aboveground storage tanks (AST) that hold any fluid other than water (gasoline, diesel, oils) in quantities greater than 10,000 gallons are required to be inspected annually by the Department of Fire Services (DFS).
The inspection program was originally born out of the Boston Molasses Disaster and flood of 1919. Then, an AST containing over 2,000,000 gallons of molasses collapsed and sent a tidal wave of molasses through the city's North End, killing 21 people and injuring over 150 people.
While we've come a long way since those days, AST regulations are changing again, with the first phase of the new program to begin on May 1, 2012. The DFS will be issuing new inspection forms and creating a more accurate database of registered ASTs. As part of the program, AST owners will be recieving renewal notices three months prior to the expiration of the AST Use permit.
Norfolk employees recently attended a meeting at the DFS offices to go over the changes in the programs and its effects on inspectors and inspections. To learn more about the AST program or Spill Prevention and Counter Control Measures (SPCC) please contact John McAllister at (508) 747-7900 extension 117.
Download our free SPCC Compliance Kit here.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has drafted a Cross-State Air Pollution Rule announced on July 7 for 27 States across the USA. This rule is aimed at reducing air pollution by cutting sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from coalfired powerplants. Coal power in the USA accounts for 46% of the country’s electric production but coal power is also responsible for 83% of CO2 emissions caused by electricity generation that year.
This rule poses a challenge for many electric utilities in order to balance meeting demand with meeting regulations. The US is facing a challenge that EPA would like to take up: dropping NOx emissions by 54% and SO2 emissions have to be cut 73% from 2005 levels, by 2014.
This measure would solve many problems caused by these emissions:
- It will improve air-quality and enable the communities to meet air-quality standards
- It will reduce the harmful smog and soot levels in the US
- It will reduce health problems linked to pollution such as asthma, bronchitis
Some utilities had already begun emissions control projects in order to comply with the EPA’s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rules and they will be better equipped to meet the targets.
There has been a broad range of reactions about this new EPA regulation, so we are uncertain about its implementation and overall effectiveness.
In recent months, many changes have been made to the SPCC (Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure) Regulation. The SPCC Regulation affects owners and operators of bulk petroleum storage facilities and may affect other facilities that store oil and other petroleum products.
In recent years, many facilities have removed underground storage tanks (USTs) and replaced them with above ground storage tanks (ASTs). These ASTs are often self-contained tanks such as Convault TanksTM. The SPCC Plan regulatory trigger for aggregate UST storage is 42,000 gallons or greater however the AST storage trigger is an aggregate storage of 1,320 gallons or greater as stored in tanks or drums no less than 55-gallons in capacity.
Because of the change to above ground tanks, many facilities which did not previously trigger an SPCC Plan with a UST may now exceed the SPCC Plan trigger with an AST. It is important for all facilities that store oil, including Town Garages, Marinas, Trucking Fleets and Bulk Oil Storage Facilities to be aware of the regulation and ensure that they have an SPCC Plan prepared if one is required.
First issued in 1973, the SPCC Rule was developed by the EPA to prevent discharge of oil into navigable waters. On January 10, 2010, major amendments to the regulation promulgated on December 5, 2008 became effective. The amendments are summarized below.
Amendment Summary for December 2008 Revisions
- Facility Diagram Flexibility
- Clarification of Loading/Unloading Rack Regulations
- Simplified Security Regulations
- Clarification to Secondary Containment Regulations
- Integrity Testing Flexibility
- Oil Production Facility Revisions
- Amended Definition of "Facility"
- Exclusion of Non-Transportation-Related Tank Trucks
- Clarification to Exemptions, Permanently Closed Tanks, Manmade Structures, and Wind Turbines
- SPPC Plan Template Available to Qualified Tier I and Tier II Facilities
- Qualified Tier I and Tier II Facility Self-Certification
The compliance date for all facilities to revise (or prepare) and implement an SPCC Plan has been extended until November 10, 2010, although an extension of this date has recently been proposed as well. These extensions have NO impact on those facilities in operation before August 16, 2002. Those facilities are required to maintain an SPCC Plan in accordance with the current SPCC regulations.
Considering all of the recent changes to the SPCC regulations, having an engineering firm that is knowledgeable in SPCC is critical. Norfolk Ram's team of engineers has experience working with the recent revisions and implications of recent compliance extensions. Norfolk Ram can assist with all aspects of SPCC Plan development and associated training, testing and inspections.
By Melissa Parker