June 2011 – Basic Requirements of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule


The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule includes requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. The rule requires specific facilities to prepare, amend, and implement SPCC Plans. The rule is part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 112, which was amended in the past few years, most recently in November 2009.
This summary describes how a facility may be subject to Part 112 and outlines the basic requirements of the SPCC rule.


    • The definition of oil is very broad and includes both petroleum and non-petroleum oils, such as animal and vegetable, synthetic, and soluble oils.
    • Must be a non-transportation-related facility:
  • Engaged in drilling, producing, gathering, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using, or consuming oil and oil products.
  • For example, operations may include vehicle maintenance and refueling; bulk storage (drums, tanks); wastewater treatment; oil-filled equipment; loading racks, transfer hoses, and loading arms, highway vehicles and railroad cars, and pipeline systems all within confines of non-transportation-relate facility.
    • Must also store oil or petroleum products in greater than threshold quantities:
  • A total aboveground storage capacity (not actual amount stored) of 1,320 gallons.
  • More than 42,000 gallons of underground storage capacity (excludes tanks regulated under federal or state underground storage tank program).
  • Use containers 55-gallons or greater to calculate SPCC storage capacity.
  • There are some exceptions, such as permanently closed containers/tanks.
    • Facility is regulated if, due to location, a discharge in harmful quantities could reasonably be expected to reach a waterway:
  • Harmful discharge may cause a sheen or discoloration to surface water or adjoining shorelines; sludge or emulsion beneath surface water or adjoining shorelines; or violates applicable water quality standard.
  • Consider location of facility in relation to a stream, ditch, gully, or sewer; the volume of material likely to be spilled; drainage patterns; and soil conditions.
  • Do not consider man-made features such as dikes in making this determination.


If subject to the SPCC rules, there are two basic requirements:

  • Provide adequate secondary containment for oil or petroleum product storage and transfer areas to contain releases.
  • Prepare and implement a written SPCC Plan that must be updated at least every 5 years.
  • SPCC Plan must be certified by professional engineer (PE) familiar with facility unless you meet the requirements to self-certify the plan (i.e., Tier I and II Qualified Facility – see below):
    • Have 10,000 gallonsor less in aggregate aboveground oil storage capacity.
    • For the three years prior to plan’s certification date, had no discharges of oil to waters of the state that exceed:
      • A single discharge of 1,000 gallons of oil.
      • Two discharges of more than 42 gallons of oil in a 12 month period.
  • If Tier I Qualified Facility meets the aforementioned requirements and has no individual aboveground oil container greater than 5,000 gallons, can complete and self-certify Plan template in lieu of full PE-certified Plan or other self-certified SPCC Plan. The Tier I plan template can be found at http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/tier1temp.htm#ext1
  • If Tier II Qualified Facility meets the aforementioned requirements, but has individual aboveground oil container greater than 5,000 gallons, can prepare a self-certified Plan in accordance with §112.7 and subparts B or C of the rule in lieu of PE-certified Plan.
  • If using alternative methods that provide equivalent environmental protection, or determine that secondary containment is impracticable, then a PE must review and certify only those aspects of the plan (i.e., hybrid plan)

A facility, including a mobile or portable facility starting operation…


On or before August 16, 2002

  • Maintain existing SPCC Plan, revise every 5 years
  • Amend and implement the amended SPCC Plan no later than November 10, 2011

After August 16, 2002 through November 10, 2011

Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan no later than November 10, 2011

After November 10, 2011 (excluding production facilities)

Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan before beginning operations

After November 10, 2011 (production facilities)

Prepare and implement an SPCC Plan within six months after beginning operations.

For more information on the SPCC Rule, or cost-effective assistance with preparing a plan, please contact Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 and amy.bauer@ehs-support.com or Kate Gibson 732-598-3293 and kate.gibson@ehs-support.com



Related Posts