Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC)

1 million gallons illustration

The Environmental Protection Agency established the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) rule to help facilities prevent and mitigate oil spills. Alongside the Facility Response Pan (FRP) rule, SPCC is one of two significant rules included in the EPA oil spill prevention program.

The SPCC rule (40 CFR part 112), actually part of the Clean Water Act, establishes requirements for preventing, preparing for, and responding to oil discharges at specific non-transportation-related facilities by requiring non-exempt facilities – onshore and offshore oil well drilling facilities, oil refineries, oil production facilities, certain waste treatment facilities, etc. – to develop and implement SPCC plans. Certain facilities, like farms, are also required to have an SPCC plan in place. 

Did you know a spill of only one gallon of oil can contaminate a million gallons of water? Because of the impact oil spills can have on public health, drinking water, natural resources, and even the economy, the EPA developed the SPCC rule with the purpose to help facilities prevent the accidental discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

What does an SPCC plan contain?

No two SPCC plans are the exact same, every facility will have its own unique SPCC plan. The EPA, however, does require plans to be prepared in accordance with good engineering practices. Furthermore, every SPCC plan, which the owner or operator must develop and implement, must be certified by a professional engineer (unless self-certification is applicable). Some important elements of an SPCC plan, as identified by the EPA include:

  • A facility diagram + description of the facility
  • Oil discharge predictions
  • Facility drainage
  • Site security
  • Facility inspections
  • Loading/unloading requirements and procedures
  • Personnel training
  • Recordkeeping requirements
  • Plan certification 

The SPCC plan does not need to be submitted to the EPA, but they should be maintained at any staffed facility or the nearest field office. For more information, check out the EPA webpage for Oil Spills Prevention and Preparedness Regulations.


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