Make it a plan

July 1, 2003
GOT OIL? Tank truck carriers that store petroleum products in amounts of 1,320 gallons or more (above ground) or 42,000 gallons or more (underground)

GOT OIL? Tank truck carriers 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. Transloading and storage terminal facilities are involved as well — all as a result of an amendment to the Clean Water Act.

That was the news from William McNutt, WCM Group president, who discussed the Environmental Protection Agency rule 40 CFR Part 112 published July 17, 2002.

“The plan is not optional,” he said. “These rules do, in fact, apply to our industry.”

Although the rule has a heading stating “non-transportation,” carriers should not be mislead. If they store petroleum in the amounts discussed above, they have until August 17, 2004, to comply — that is if they already have a spill plan in place for current operating facilities. It's not enough, however, to just have a plan in place. The plan has to be amended by the August 17, 2004, deadline — and the amended plan fully implemented no later than February 18, 2005.

For new facilities that go into operation between August 16, 2002, and February 18, 2005, carriers must prepare and implement a plan by February 18, 2005. If the facility is operational after February 18, 2005, a plan must be prepared and implemented before startup.

And, it doesn't end there. A plan review is required every five years, and must have documentation.

Here are some of the requirements that will impact tank truck carriers with storage facilities:

  • 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. (McNutt advised carriers to keep drums on pallets.)

  • 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.

  • Must 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 considered by EPA to be the necessary amount to contain precipitation from a 25-year, 24-hour storm event.

There are additional requirements for transloading facilities that may affect carriers with those services. All areas utilized for truck or rail transfer operations must be equipped with some form of containment. The plan may have to include a spill containment device that surrounds the tractor/trailer or truck during product transfer.

“You can't put a gravel burm and call it containment,” McNutt cautioned.

The plan must contain typical information, such as company name and address, identification of substances on site, the nearest body of water, response plan in event of a spill, description of containment barriers, and a discussion how the plan conforms with the rule.

Some of the information that must be included in the plan includes a prediction of the rate of flow and total quantity of applicable substances which could be spilled at the facility where experience indicates a reasonable potential for equipment failure and/or human error.

The plan must include a complete discussion of the facility's conformance with the applicable guidelines regarding spill prevention and containment procedures for tanks, piping, facility drainage systems, facility security, personnel training, and periodic inspections.

An overview of the employee training program must be included.

If carriers that fall under the regulation fail to comply, the monetary penalties are stiff, and can range from $2,500 per day to $250,000 per day for each violation. In certain cases, penalties include imprisonment from one to four years, depending on the violation.

To see the rule in its entirety in The Federal Register, 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.