EPA Extends Deadlines for Preparing Oil Spill Prevention Plans
As it prepares to propose further revision of its Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its proposal to extend the deadlines for complying with its current rule.
The new deadlines for preparing and implementing an SPCC plan depend on when you activated your jobsite, as follows—
- If you activated your jobsite on or before Aug. 16, 2002, you must have an SPCC plan based on the 1973 rule and you must update that SPCC plan (to meet certain new requirements adopted in 2002) by July 1, 2009.
- If you activated your jobsite after Aug. 16, 2002, you must prepare and implement an SPCC plan (based on the 2002 rule) by July 1, 2009.
- If you activate another jobsite after July 1, 2009, you must prepare and implement an SPCC plan (that complies with the 2002 rule) before breaking ground.
EPA has repeatedly delayed industry compliance with the SPCC rule amid concerns (expressed by AGC and others) that the rule is onerous. Among other things, AGC has recommended exempting asphalt cement (AC) and hot-mix asphalt (HMA) from the SPCC rule.
At AGC’s request, EPA has already streamlined the requirements for construction sites that store small quantities of oil and fuel and exempted mobile construction equipment with large fuel/fluid tanks from the rule. Those amendments took effect on February 26, 2007, and revise the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation at 40 CFR Part 112 (71 FR 77266, Dec. 26).
Right now, EPA’s SPCC rules cover your jobsite if (1) your oil storage containers (in tanks of 55 gallons or greater, including asphalt cement tanks) have a total capacity of more than 1,320 gallons and (2) a spill could reach US waters. A literal reading of the SPCC rule would suggest that you don’t need an SPCC plan for any jobsite activated after Aug. 16, 2002, and completed by July 1, 2009, but you will still need to take proper steps to control oil spills from such a jobsite. There are other EPA programs (like the NPDES storm water program and the RCRA hazardous waste program) that require proper handling, storing, transporting and disposal of oil. The required elements of an SPCC plan can be found on EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/oilspill/spccmust.htm.
EPA’s SPCC program was developed in 1973 under the authority of Section 311 of the Clean Water Act. The SPCC program is administered and enforced by federal EPA in every state; however, states and localities may also have supplemental oil programs. EPA revised the rule in 2002 (effective Aug. 17, 2002) and again in 2006 (effective Feb. 26, 2007), but the compliance deadlines for preparing/amending and implementing an SPCC plan that satisfies the amended rules have been extended several times. Right now, you can take advantage of all of the regulatory relief provided for by the 2002 and 2006 SPCC revisions. It’s your choice whether or not to incorporate any of the more stringent requirements into your SPCC plan in advance of the new compliance dates.
Additional information, including the text of the full text of the SPCC rule, is online at http://www.epa.gov/oilspill/spcc.htm.
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