Spill Notice

Under the federal Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations, if your facility has discharged more than 1,000 U.S. gallons of oil in a single discharge, or 42 U.S. gallons of oil in two separate discharges occurring within any 12-month period, you are required to submit a notice regarding that spill to your applicable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator within 60 days of the spill or release.

In addition to the notice requirements, the EPA may also require you to amend your facility’s SPCC Plan to adequately prevent and contain future oil discharges and releases. This article describes the Spill or Discharge Notice requirements as described at the Enviro.BLR.com web site.

The following information must be included in the Spill or Discharge Notice:

  • Name of the facility
  • Owner or operator’s name
  • Location of the facility
  • Maximum storage or handling capacity of the facility and normal daily throughput
  • Any corrective action and countermeasures taken, including a description of equipment repairs and replacements
  • Adequate description of the facility, including maps, flow diagrams, and topographical maps, as necessary
  • Cause of the discharge, including a failure analysis of the system or subsystem in which the failure occurred
  • Additional preventive measures that have been taken or contemplated to minimize the possibility of recurrence
  • Any other information that may be reasonably required by EPA that is pertinent to the Plan or discharge

Send it to Your State Too

A complete copy of all information provided to the EPA must also be sent to the appropriate agency or agencies in charge of oil pollution control activities in the state where the facility is located. After the state agency or agencies receive the information, they may conduct a review and make recommendations to the EPA about further procedures, methods, equipment, and other requirements necessary to prevent and to contain discharges from the facility.

What to Expect from the EPA

The Regional EPA Administrator (RA) may require the owner or operator to amend the Plan if the Agency finds that it does not meet the SPCC requirements, or that an amendment is necessary to prevent and contain discharges from the facility.

The RA must propose by certified mail, or by personal delivery, that the owner or operator must amend the plan, and must specify the terms of the proposed amendment. Within 30 days from receipt of the notice, the owner or operator may submit written information, views, and arguments on the proposed amendment.

Following consideration of all relevant material presented, the RA must either provide notification of any amendment required or rescind the notice. The owner or operator must then amend the SPCC Plan as required within 30 days following the notice, unless the RA, for good cause, specifies another effective date.

The amended Plan must be implemented as soon as possible, but not later than 6 months after the Plan is amended, unless the RA specifies another date.

And Remember

Owners and operators of regulated facilities must review Plans at least every 5 years, regardless of whether a spill or release has occurred, and Plans must be amended within 6 months of such review to include more effective spill prevention techniques, if applicable. For more information on Spill Prevention Plans, go to this web page at the Enviro.BLR.com web site.