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Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans

SPCC Regulations and Requirements

Using federal rules and regulations, the Environment Protection Agency creates requirements to prevent environmental damage and protect public health from hazardous material spills. Since oil spills endanger public health, impact drinking water, devastate natural resources, and disrupt the economy, the EPA enacted specific rules to prevent and prepare for oil spills. The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule helps oil exploration and production in the upstream sector to prevent the discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

Who Needs an SPCC Plan?

The SPCC rule requires facilities to develop, maintain, and implement an oil spill prevention plan, or SPCC Plan. Facilities with an aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 1,330 U.S. gallons or a completely buried storage capacity of greater than 42,000 U.S. gallons need a SPCC Plan. Additionally, a facility that stores, processes, refines, uses or consumes oil and is non-transportation-related is potentially subject to the SPCC rule.

What Kind of Facilities Need an SPCC Plan?

The United States uses vast quantities of oils to heat homes, fuel automobiles and other modes of transportation and operate various pieces of equipment. As a result, the SPCC rule covers many different types of facilities that store, process, refine, uses or consumes oil. Examples of facilities covered by the SPCC rule include:

  • Oil drilling
  • Power generators
  • Oil refineries
  • Airports
  • Marinas
  • Fish canneries
  • Power transmission and distribution
  • Farms and ranches
  • Construction sites
  • Oil storage
  • Oil production

What is Covered in an SPCC Plan?

In an SPCC Plan, facility owners and operators must detail oil handling operations, spill prevention practices, discharge or drainage controls, and the personnel, equipment and resources at the facility to prevent environmental damage from an oil spill.

Unique to every facility, an SPCC Plan must describe the following elements:

  • Operating procedures at the facility to prevent oil spills.
  • Control measures (such as secondary containment) installed to prevent oil spills from entering navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.
  • Countermeasures to contain, cleanup, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that has impacted navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

What Type of Oil Does SPCC Cover?

The SPCC rule covers oil of any type and in any form. The types of oil include (but not limited to):

  • Petroleum
  • Fuel oil
  • Sludge
  • Oil refuse
  • Oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil
  • Fats, oils or greases of animal, fish, or marine mammal origin
  • Vegetable oils, including oil from seeds, nuts, fruits, or kernels
  • Other oils and greases, including synthetic oils and mineral oils

Spill Prevention with an SPCC Plan

Facilities meeting the criteria as outlined by the EPA must develop and implement an SPCC Plan to prevent oil spills. As detailed by the SPCC rule, the following tactics or precautions help prevent environmental damage and protect public health from an oil spill.

  • Using appropriate containers for storing certain oils. For example, storing gasoline in a flammable liquids container.
  • Providing overfill prevention for your oil storage containers by using a high-level alarm or audible vent.
  • Using the appropriate secondary containment, like a dike or a remote, for bulk storage containers.
  • Utilizing general secondary containment, like drip pans or curbing, to catch oil spill at transfer points between mobile refuelers and tanker trucks.
  • Periodically visually inspecting aboveground pipes and leak testing buried pipes and containers. Document these inspections in the SPCC Plan.

Facilities risk contaminating the environment, harming employees, and incurring significant costs for cleanup should a spill occur without an SPCC Plan in place. Facility owners and operators without an SPCC Plan face fines from the EPA of up to $27,500 per day for noncompliance.


Don’t take the risk – put your spill prevention plan in place now with PolyStar’s spill containment solutions.


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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