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The EPA Revises the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan Timeline for Agriculture


The federal SPCC self-certification rule pertaining to oil storage tanks applies to agricultural operations that have more than 42,000 gallons of underground storage or 1320 gallons to 10,000 gallons of combined aboveground storage capacity.  The aboveground storage includes permanent, mobile or portable tanks, drums or totes that have a capacity of greater than 55 gallons each. For self-certification purposes, the maximum storage capacity of a single tank is 5,000 gallons. If underground tanks exist on the same parcel that has an SPCC Plan for aboveground tanks, the aboveground and underground storage tanks will need to be documented in the Plan. Aboveground storage capacities from 1320 gallons to 10,000 gallons may be self-certified by the agricultural operator and is contingent upon a good spill history during the three year period prior to implementing an SPCC Plan.  A self-certified Plan is maintained on the premises and is not required to be submitted to any agency. Other storage capacities beyond the previously mentioned thresholds will need to be certified by a professional engineer.

The EPA has published a new date of May 10, 2013 to maintain or amend an SPCC Plan already implemented on agricultural operations in business on or before August 16, 2002.  If an SPCC plan currently does not exist on an agricultural operation that stores 1320 gallons to 10,000 gallons of oil aboveground or 42,000 gallons or more of oil in underground storage and was in business on or before August 16, 2002, a completed plan should be implemented as soon as possible. When a producer completes a SPCC Plan for aboveground storage, any associated underground oil storage on the premises will also need to be documented in the Plan. An agricultural operation in business after August 16, 2002 will need to prepare a SPCC plan on or before May 10, 2013. Fines could be imposed by the EPA if a required SPCC Plan is not developed. 

Oil storage includes, but is not limited to, sources from petroleum, animal fat (excluding milk storage), vegetable (seeds, nuts and fruits) and fish oils, greases and synthetic and mineral oils. Some oil storages are exempt from the SPCC rule which include heating oil used for single family residences, motive power oil containers, and pesticide application equipment.
Further details are available from the EPA Ag Compliance Assistance Center at 1-888-663-2155.

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