New EPA regulation requires updated spill plan

Aug. 1, 2003
IN THE requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule, 40 CFR 112, facilities will be required to amend spill plans that are in place

IN THE requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule, 40 CFR 112, facilities will be required to amend spill plans that are in place so that they comply with the regulation. New facilities must complete plans and implement them before operations can begin.

That was the message from Eric Politte of Response Management Associates, who stood in for Phil Myers of ChevronTexaco, and presented Myers' assessment of the regulations as well as his own interpretations. Joining Politte in the rule discussion at the Independent Liquid Terminals Association International Operating Conference June 9-10 in Houston, Texas, was Eric S Goldman of Envar Services Inc.

As part of the latest requirements from EPA, facilities are required to have professional engineers certify plans. Engineers and facility personnel will have to work as a team in order for the planning to be a success, said Politte. To insure a smooth effort, he recommended that companies use engineers who are familiar with the industry and its standards.

“Hopefully, you won't end up with an inflexible engineer,” he said.

Goldman said that facilities that have a plan in place that complies with the requirements won't have to add new spill prevention structures that aren't already in place. That's the good news.

The bad news, according to Goldman, is that the revision plans must be set up and certified. And, although a spill history is not required for the plan at this time, he expects that will change.

More information about the regulation can be found at The Federal Register Web site. Go to the Internet at, scroll to the bottom of the page, and under “executive resources” click on the “Federal Register” button. The rule is under the July 17, 2002, entries.

In the EPA ruling, facilities that store petroleum products in amounts of 1,320 gallons or more (above ground) or 42,000 gallons or more (underground) need a spill plan.

Here are some of the requirements that will impact storage facilities, according to the information in The Federal Register:

  • Cathodic protective wrap and integrity/leak testing is required on new or replaced buried piping.

  • Portable tanks and containers now require containment with allowance for precipitation.

  • Written tank integrity testing program in accordance with industry standards must be available for review and referenced in the SPCC Plan.

  • Drums must be stored in a manner allowing dimensional visual inspections in order to avoid applicability of this requirement. If drums are not stored in an approved manner, a testing program is needed.

  • Test on a regular schedule and when materially repaired.

  • Must combine visual inspection with another testing technique (i.e.: hydrostatic, radiographic, ultrasonic, acoustic emissions, or other non-destructive shell testing)

  • Include supports and foundations.

  • Certifying engineer must consider applicable industry standards.

  • Keep comparison records.

  • Frequently inspect exterior for deterioration, discharges, etc.

  • Must at least provide spill containment for the capacity of the largest single tank with sufficient freeboard for precipitation. Sufficient freeboard is the capacity needed to contain precipitation from a 25-year, 24-hour storm event.