EPA’s deadline for oil spill plans looming

Farms and other facilities in operation on or before Aug. 16, 2002, must maintain or amend their existing SPCC plan by Nov. 10, 2011.

EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program requires farms and other facilities to prepare plans 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 SPCC program applies to a farm which:

  • Stores, transfers, uses, or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat.
  • Stores more than 1,320 US gallons in aboveground containers or more than 42,000 US gallons in completely buried containers.
  • Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the US 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 aboveground containers and the farm has a good spill history.

Reps. Crawford, R-Ark., and Fincher, R-Tenn., are circulating a letter for colleague signatures. The letter is addressed to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and asks her to extend the Nov. 10 deadline due to a lack of outreach and education to farmers on the part of EPA, a scarcity of qualified PEs, and the current hardship facing farmers in the Midwest and Mid-South brought on by floods and severe weather.

More information on the SPCC rule is on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/tech/safety/oilsp.cfm.

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