Spill prevention at storage facilities discussed

Dec. 1, 2004
SPILL prevention and new regulations governing storage and terminaling facilities continue to dominate discussion at industry meetings. There was no exception

SPILL prevention and new regulations governing storage and terminaling facilities continue to dominate discussion at industry meetings. There was no exception at the OPSEM meeting where Sunil Hagal of RTP Environmental Associates, Fred Clark of XL Environmental, and Scott Smith of Hull and Associates discussed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation 40 CFR Part 112 and its relation to the chemical industry.

Hangal pointed out that just meeting the Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures (SPCC) regulation and having a security plan in place will not prevent a spill incident, if the company does not follow up on the problems that are uncovered as a result. “Very often, simple deviations end in incidents,” he said, adding that constant vigilance is required. “There's no simple solution to that. It takes time.”

Clark suggested companies who are not already members of their industry association to join and conform to the organization's safety goals as a way to enhance their spill prevention programs. In addition, he pointed out that when a company has a comprehensive spill plan in place and is committed to it, insurance companies are likely to see those actions in a positive light.

Smith said that facility managers should take note of any electric transformers on their property and insure that they meet the spill prevention requirements. Although utility companies are ultimately responsible for the equipment, he added that terminal managers must be cognizant of the requirements and be able to contact the utility company immediately should a spill occur. He also noted that secondary containments are required for spill prevention at truck loading racks.

Among the regulation requirements are cathodic protective wrap and integrity/leak testing on new or replaced buried piping. Portable tanks and containers require containment with allowance for precipitation, and tank exteriors must be inspected regularly for deterioration, discharges, and other problems.

All plans and corrective actions will have to be approved by EPA. As part of the requirements, facilities must have professional engineers certify plans. The regulations stem from the Clean Water Act and apply to tank farms, pipelines, terminals, and refineries. Failure to meet the requirements will result in fines

Meanwhile, compliance for most facilities has been extended to 2006. Industry had mounted an intensive campaign to persuade EPA to extend the deadlines in order for those falling under the regulation to meet the mandates.

The regulation initially required compliance for August 17, 2004, and full implementation would have been required by February 18, 2005.

In addition, facilities that become operational after February 18, 2005, must prepare and implement an SPCC plan before commencement of operations.

More information about the regulation can be found at The Federal Register Web site. Go to the Internet at access.gpo.gov. Scroll to online federal information and click on A-Z resource list, click on “F” and then on Federal Register, scroll to 1994 through 2004 and click on 2002, and click on the publication date. This rule is under the July 17, 2002, entries.