The Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation (40 CFR 112) requires each owner or operator of a regulated facility to construct and operate its facility in accordance with industry standard practices. These steps will reduce the likelihood of spills, minimize clean-up costs should a spill occur, and prevent harm to the environment.
The regulation applies to non-transportation-related facilities, including farms,that:
Have an aggregate capacity in above-ground storage of more than 1,320 gallons, or a total [non-exempted] underground storage capacity of 42,000 gallons; and
Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities in "navigable waters of the United States"
The following are exempt from the SPCC rule:
Completely buried storage tanks subject to all the technical requirements of the underground storage tank regulations
Containers with a storage capacity less than 55 gallons of oil
Wastewater treatment facilities
Permanently closed containers
Motive power containers (e.g., automotive or truck fuel tanks)
Initially these rules became effective in 1974. In 2002, the EPA has estimated that a third of facilities nationwide would be farms.
The deadline to prepare and implement revised SPCC plans for farms is proposed to be extended to May 10, 2013.
Off shore facilities and "potential for substantial harm" facilities with (1) over 42,000 gallons of storage capacity which load or unload over water; or (2) facilities with 1,000,000 gallons and with either a repeditive spill history or located in areas which could impact environmentally sensative areas/public water deadline was November 10, 2010. Other non-farm facilities were to complete their plan revision and full implementation by November 10, 2011.
One of several EPA announcements on facilities fined recently for lack of SPCC rule compliance, this one against a farm operator.
In November 2009, EPA approved several farm-specific exemptions including relief for blended oil-based pesticides and added flexibility to the definition of "facility."
A .pdf copy of the December 2008 publication, which includes farm specific provisions, is provided at the hyperlink below. The EPA also issued a briefing sheet including fequently asked questions (FAQ) at the same time, and can be downloaded by clicking on the second hyperlink below.
Once you have determined your facility is subject to the regulations, then reviewing the requirements for your site should be the next step. A short and a long version of a "briefing sheet" prepared by our staff is available below for your reference. Trade association and various regulatory agencies hold "outreach sessions" from time to time to outline to the regulated community requirements of these rules. Or engage a consulting firm to assist with compliance is an option, especially for larger more complex facilities. Additional information can also be obtained from the US EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm
A copy of the most recent edition of the State of North Dakota Regulatory Guidance for Farm Tanks is also available from the link below, and covers both ND Fire Marshal regulations, ND Department of Health Environmental Section requirements, as well as EPA SPCC Rules are outlined (although the document does not reflect EPA's changes in 2008 and 2009).
Also note that farm tanks at or below 1,100 gallons in size do not have to provide financial assurance mechanism (such as purchasing insurance through the state's tank release insurance fund).
The EPA has published sample SPCC plans which can be modified for a small facility. They can be downloaded from their website at http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm or can be downloaded directly from the adjacent links below. Note that these plans may NOT contain information specific to your state. Other omissions may have resulted to rule changes that have occurred since the EPA developed and published their sample plans.
A chart summarzing circumstances where a small facility operator, such as a farm, may qualify to prepare and certify their own SPCC plan is presented below. These facilities must not contain more than 10,000 gallons of aggregate oil storage capacity including all tanks, containers and piping with individual volumes at or above 55 gallons in size.
A "oil discharge briefing" suitable for North Dakota farm operations has been developed by Keitu for your use. You can download it from the hyperlink above and have your "oil handling" employees review it once a year to satisfy the training requirements specified by the EPA.
Secondary Containment Sizing
Fortunately, most people understand the need to provide a dike or berm around bulk fuel and oil storage containers. They serve at least 3 purposes (1) limit the area oil from a spill or other unintentional release can flow to (2) limit the travel of an ignited oil fire to reduce the hazard to adjacent areas (3) prevent the contamination of clean stormwater or snowmelt from coming in contact with oil soaked soil.
Under the 2002 US EPA SPCC rule changes, additional volume must be incorporated into the containment structures to allow for precipitation. The EPA would like everyone to provide enough volume for a 25-year 24-hour rainfall event. For North Dakota, this means a 3-4 inch rainfall depending on what part of the state the facility is located. If located in another state, some research for an appropriate allowance will be required. NOTE: Some states have their own specific requriements, either as environmental requirements (i.e. Minnesota may require the volume for the largest container in the dike plus 10%) or industry specific requirements (i.e. oil production facilities in North Dakota requires largest container plus 1 day of production volume). The person certifying the facility SPCC Plan is taking responsiblity to assuring these types of requirements are verified.
To calculate needed containment berm size, first decide on how high you want the dike walls to be. To make them easy to step over and not pack down, consider a 18-inch height. If space is limited, consider higher dike wall heights. If dike walls are higher than 48-inches, you may trigger OSHA confined space regulations. See attachment simplified example calculations. Make sure you keep you units of measure consistant i.e. use feet or fractional feet not inches such as 1.5 feet for 18 inches. You must allow for displacement of volume due to tanks, other equipment, etc. if more than one tank is situated in the same tank dike.
Most states, including North Dakota, also have complimentary rules for fire protection purposes which dictate placement of flammable liquid storage containers, tanks and containment dikes from occupied buildings and property lines. These codes should be reviewed for applicability at your site. Some of the major ones in North Dakota are outlined in the State's informational brochure available above.
Farm Operators Note: North Dakota and most other states with a significant agricultural operations have adopted the NFPA 395 rules for farms and other remote fuel storage locations, including construction sites. They provide significant relief from spacing requirements however they only apply to tanks 1,100 gallons and smaller.
Engineering Assistance Available
If your facility cannot meet regulatory requirements by preparing a SPCC plan internally, Keitu Engineers & Consultants would be happy to assist you. We will draw on over 30 years experience in the petroleum industry to assess your existing facilities, procedures and SPCC plan for compliance with the revised 40 CFR 112. Our staff can review your existing operation, including design and construction specifications, scheduled inspections and employee training for compliance with the new regulations and coordinate changes to upgrade facilities or procedures to meet the new requirements. For new facilities or locations not currently operating with an existing SPCC plan, our engineers will work with your staff to prepare, or assist in preparation, of a plan to conform to the current regulations.
Providing engineering, environmental and technical support services in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.