The Oil, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) program was put in place by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent oil spills into waters of the United States. This program recently expanded regulations to include some farms. 

As a result of these regulations, certain facilities are required to develop SPCC Plans that describe oil storage containers, emergency contacts and response personnel, procedures, and training to prevent, control, and provide adequate countermeasures to a discharge of oil. 

What farm facilities are covered by the SPCC program?  The basics: your farm facility is covered by this program if you store more than 1,320 gallons of oil in above ground bulk containers, including containers (drums, totes, aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), nurse tanks, well pumps, hydraulic lifts, etc.) with a storage capacity of 55 gallons and above, and your facilities have a “reasonable expectation of an oil discharge” to water. 

Common types of oil covered under SPCC found at farms include diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, and mineral oil.

In order to define what is meant by “reasonable expectation of an oil discharge” to water, consider the geography and location of your farm facility relative to nearby waters.  Determine if drainage near your fuel storage facility or precipitation runoff could transport an oil spill to a nearby water body.  Exclude any man-made features like dikes or other structures when determining potential oil spill movement to waterways.  If oil can reasonably flow to a body of water, and your fuel storage facility meets the 1,320 gallon threshold, then your facility is covered by SPCC.

If your farm fuel storage facility is covered by the SPCC, your facility must take steps to prevent oil spills, and you need an SPCC Plan.  If you have an aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons, you will need to have your plan certified by a professional engineer.  If you have 10,000 gallons or less and a clean spill history, you may self-certify your plan.

Your plan should describe the oil handling operations, spill prevention practices, spill clean-up procedures, discharge or drainage controls, and the personnel, equipment and resources at the facility that are used to prevent oil spills from reaching water. 

Make a list of all oil containers at your facility and describe the procedures you will use to prevent oil spills.  Moreover, you should describe measures you installed to prevent oil from reaching water, what you will do to contain and clean up an oil spill, and make a list of emergency contacts and first responders. The plan should be amended and updated as changes are made at your facility and should be reviewed at a minimum every five years to assure it is up-to-date.