The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying the effective compliance date of the final rule amending the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) regulations issued in the Federal Register on Dec. 5, 2008. The SPCC amendments will now become effective on Jan. 14, 2010, which is a nine month delay from the original compliance date proposed by EPA.
The EPA's SPCC rule revisions clarify regulatory requirements, tailor requirements to particular industry segments and streamline certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule. ARA worked closely with EPA officials over the last five years to ease requirements for agricultural businesses in the development of plans for preventing spills of petroleum and other types of oil. The rules potentially cover facilities such as farms, petroleum refiners, chemical facilities, formulators, plants that store animal and plant fats or vegetable oils, and agricultural retailers.
These new SPCC regulations have some very positive exemptions for agricultural retailers. The regulatory relief requested by ARA and adopted by EPA officials includes:
- Self certification for qualifying facilities under 10,000 gallons; and an integrity inspection by the facility operator that does not require the use of a professional engineer.
- Sprayer application equipment and mobile refueling units are exempted from the rule.
The Dec. 5, 2008 amendments to the SPCC rule clarified regulatory requirements, tailored requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamlined certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule. With these changes, EPA expects to encourage greater compliance with the SPCC regulations, thus resulting in increased protection of human health and the environment.
The amendments did not change any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before Aug. 16, 2002, to develop, implement, and maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such facilities are still required to maintain their existing SPCC plans until the applicable dates for revising and implementing new plans go into effect under the latest EPA amendments.
ARA continues to work closely with EPA on the implementation of the SPCC rules.