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How to Stay Compliant with Federal Regulations

Worker handles an oil drum per spill prevention requirement rules

As an engineer or consultant, you’re responsible for complying with a variety of federal regulations related to secondary containment and spill prevention. Get the facts about spill and containment requirements as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make sure you don’t fall short.

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC)

Using federal rules and regulations, the EPA creates requirements to prevent environmental damage and protect public health from hazardous material spills. The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule helps oil exploration and production in the upstream sector prevent the discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

Facilities subject to SPCC requirements must implement a written plan that details products, countermeasures and procedures in place to prevent the discharge of oil into nearby waterways. Read more about SPCC plans and review section 40 CFR 112.7 from the EPA.

Chemical Containment

Hazardous chemicals can harm humans, animals and the environment when they are improperly handled, stored or transported. Governments design laws and regulations to limit interaction with dangerous agents, including chemical, biological or radiological materials.

EPA regulations lay out secondary containment requirements, which mandate a backup containment method to prevent hazardous chemical spills in the event a primary containment method fails. The EPA defines hazardous waste as part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) under Title 40 CFR 261 and provides volume requirements for secondary containment systems under Title 40 CFR 264.175(b).

According to OSHA regulations, workers should be aware of unsafe practices, such as improper chemical handling and unhealthy situations. Hazardous chemicals pose health and safety risks even when workers are not transporting them. Learn more about OSHA’s hazardous chemical guidelines in 29 CFR 1910.1200(d) and read about safe chemical storage practices.

Battery Spill Containment

Safe battery spill containment requirements prevent environmental harm and protect business revenue. Federal, state and local governments require battery spill compliance, such as ventilation, signage, personal protection and liquid-tight containment.

The EPA enforces the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This regulation stems from the Resources Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Right to Know Act. The Right to Know Act requires businesses to report the storage of hazardous materials exceeding 500 lb., including batteries. Materials exceeding 500 lb. must have liquid-tight, secondary containment systems.

Additionally, a federal OSHA regulation addresses worker safety issues in the presence of flooded-cell batteries. To protect workforces, this regulation requires:
• Neutralization
• Sealed floors
• Personal protection
• Eyewash stations

Learn more about OSHA battery storage and handling practices as required in section 1926.441.

Transloading and Railcar Containment

Transloading is the process of transferring liquids from railcars to trucks and vice versa. The EPA regulates loading and unloading activities that involve transferring oil between rail cars and tank trucks if there is a change in custody of the product.

The federal government requires spill prevention containers to catch incidental spills that may occur during railroad transfer operations. Facilities can also install high-strength, corrosion-resistant transloading spill containers between train tracks to function as storage units.

Review the EPA’s top priorities for oil spill prevention and preparedness, and learn more about transloading spill prevention, including elements to consider and safe, effective spill containment systems to use in your plan.

Environmental Health and Safety

An environmental health and safety audit helps workplaces improve compliance with EPA regulations. This regulatory compliance assessment tool is a good way to determine how efficiently an organization manages its health and safety program when storing and handling hazardous materials in accordance with spill prevention requirements.

Many organizations and businesses conduct internal EHS audits before receiving an external assessment from a third party—often a government agency auditor. The audit is comprised of a workplace survey that helps regulators determine if workers, procedures and spill prevention methods follow health and environmental safety rules.

The audit may also reveal if equipment such as spill prevention or secondary containment systems meet compliance requirements. Learn how to prepare for or conduct an audit.

Stay Compliant with Polystar Secondary and Spill Containment Solutions

As an engineer or consultant, you have the knowledge to make recommendations that lay the foundation for a project’s success. Ensure you and your team adhere to current industry regulations when scoping out investments or industrial projects by choosing the right spill prevention or secondary containment system.

Browse our collection of products or contact us to learn more about Polystar Containment’s secondary containment and spill prevention systems.

Contact us to learn more about Polystar's custom secondary containment products or visit our news page to learn more about our secondary containment solutions for SPCC compliance.
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