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Aboveground Storage Tank Approval (18-FD-b)

Information current as of 2020
In the United States, any person (developer) may need to develop a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan for aboveground storage tanks, which could discharge oil in quantities that may be harmful to navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines pursuant to the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 – 1388 (CWA).

Most aboveground storage tanks are subject to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements as part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation authorized under the CWA. 40 C.F.R. §§ 112.1 - 112.21. The SPCC plan is intended to form a comprehensive spill prevention program in order to minimize potential for discharges. The SPCC Plan addresses all relevant spill prevention, control, and countermeasures necessary for a specific facility.

Note: A developer may also have to comply with state permitting and compliance regulations.

Aboveground Storage Tank Approval Process

18-FD-b.1 – Does the Aboveground Storage Tank Require an SPCC Plan under 40 CFR 112.1?

Non-transportation related onshore and offshore facilities drilling, producing, gathering, storing, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using, or consuming oil or oil productions with oil in above ground storage tanks which could discharge in quantities that may be harmful to navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines are subject to 40 C.F.R. § 112.1 and the completion of an SPCC Plan unless excluded.

Among the exclusions to the SPCC Plan requirement are facilities not subject to EPA jurisdiction as well as facilities with both a completely buried storage capacity of 42,000 gallons or less (excluding containers "permanently closed”) and aggregate aboveground storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or less (excluding containers with a capacity under 55 gallons and containers “permanently closed”). 40 C.F.R. § 112.1(d)(2)

18-FD-b.2 to 18-FD-b.3 – Does the Regional Administrator Make a Preliminary Determination Requiring the Developer to Prepare an SPCC Plan?

An EPA Regional Administrator may require the developer of any facility subject to EPA regulation under 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b), regardless of the above listed exclusions, prepare an SPCC Plan, or any applicable part thereof, to carry out the purposes of the SPCC.

18-FD-b.4 – Notice of Preliminary Determination to Require an SPCC Plan

Following a preliminary determination by the Regional Administrator to require an SPCC Plan, the Regional Administrator must provide written notice to developer stating the reasons why the developer must prepare an SPCC Plan, or applicable part thereof.

18-FD-b.5 – Provide Data and Consult with EPA

The developer may provide information and data as well as consult with the EPA about the requirement to prepare an SPCC Plan for 30 days after receiving the written notice. 40 C.F.R. § 112.1(f)(2)

18-FD-b.6 – Does the Regional Administrator Make a Final Determination Requiring the Developer to Prepare an SPCC Plan?

The Regional Administrator must make a final determination of whether to require an SPCC Plan after the 30 days in which the developer may provide data and consult with the EPA on the SPCC Plan. 40 CFR § 112.1(f)(2). If the Regional Administrator makes a final determination that an SPCC Plan is necessary, the developer must prepare the plan within six months of the final determination and implement the plan not later than one year after the final determination. 40 C.F.R. § 112.1(f)(4).

18-FD-b.7 – Spill Prevention, Control, and Contingency (SPCC) Plan

The developer must prepare a Spill Prevention, Control, and Contingency Plan (SPCC). Under 40 C.F.R. § 112.7 the SPCC Plan must include:

  • a description of the physical layout of the facility;
  • the type of oil in each container and its storage capacity;
  • discharge prevention measures, including procedures for routine handling of products;
  • discharge or drainage controls;
  • countermeasures for discharge discovery, response, and cleanup;
  • methods of disposal of recovered materials in accordance with applicable legal requirements;
  • a contact list and phone numbers for the facility response coordinator, National Response Center, cleanup contractors, and all appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies who must be contacted in case of a discharge.

40 C.F.R. § 112.7(a)(3).

Additionally, unless the facility also requires a Response Plan under 40 C.F.R. § 112.20, the SPCC Plan must include information and procedures to enable a person reporting a discharge to relate information on the:

  • address, location, and phone number of the facility;
  • the date and time of the discharge;
  • the type of material discharged;
  • estimates of the quantity discharged;
  • the source of the discharge;
  • a description of all affected media;
  • any damages or injuries caused by the discharge;
  • actions being used to stop, remove, and mitigate the effects of the discharge;
  • whether an evacuation may be needed; and
  • the names of individuals and/or organizations who have been contacted.

40 C.F.R. § 112.7(a)(4).

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