EPA's Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program requires farms and other regulated facilities to prepare a SPCC Plan to prevent oil spills into U.S. waters. Farms in operation on or before Aug. 16, 2002, must maintain or amend their existing plan by Nov. 10, 2011. Any farm that started operation after Aug. 16, 2002, but before Nov. 10, 2011, must prepare and use a plan on or before Nov. 10, 2011.

The EPA page on the SPCC rule site, (www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm) SPPC for Agriculture, (www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/spcc_ag.htm) is a valuable resource for producers and ginners. This page is dedicated to helping farms and gins prevent oil spills, as well as control a spill should one occur. The current example template and newly added documents, including one on how to fill out the template, contain background information for the example farm -- making this process much more understandable.

The SPCC program applies to a farm which:

  • Stores, transfers, uses, or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic fluid, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat; and
  • Stores more than 1,320 US gallons in above ground containers larger than 55 gallons or more than 42,000 U.S. gallons in completely buried containers; and
  • Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines, such as interstate waters, and intrastate lakes, rivers and streams.

SPCC Plans include measures such as using suitable containers, identifying contractors to clean up an oil spill, secondary containment for spills, and periodic inspections of pipes and containers.

Many farmers will need to have their plan certified by a Professional Engineer (PE). However, a farmer may be eligible to self-certify his plan if the farm has a total oil storage capacity between 1,320 and 10,000 gallons in above ground containers with no single container larger than 5,000 gallons and the farm has a good spill history.

More information is on the NCC website.