EPA proposes loading rack exclusion from SPCC rule
Oct 2, 2007 12:08 PM
Loading and unloading racks at oil production facilities may be excluded from certain requirements of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, according to a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced October 1.
EPA also is proposing amendments to the SPCC rule to increase clarity and tailor certain requirements as they apply to facilities handling animal fats and vegetable oils.
The SPCC rule applies to owners or operators of oil production facilities that drill, produce, gather, store, process, transfer, use, or consume oil or oil products above applicable thresholds and could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the United States. The facilities are subject to the SPCC rule if they meet at least one of the following capacity thresholds: aboveground oil storage capacity (counting only containers with a capacity of 55 gallons or greater) greater than 1,320 gallons or completely buried oil storage capacity (counting only containers with a capacity of 55 gallons or greater) greater than 42,000 gallons.
The loading/unloading rack exclusion proposal is in revisions EPA is proposing to certain regulatory requirements for oil storage facilities subject to the SPCC rule. However, EPA points out that nothing in the proposed rule removes any regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before August 16, 2002, to develop, implement and maintain an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. These facilities are required to maintain their plans until the applicable date for revising and implementing plans under the new amendments.
In the proposal related to oil production facilities, EPA is:
•Modifying the definition of “production facility”, consistent with the proposed amendments to the definition of “facility.”
•Extending the timeframe by which a new oil production facility must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan.
•Exempting flow-through process vessels at oil production facilities from the sized secondary containment requirements, while maintaining general secondary containment requirements and requiring additional oil spill prevention measures.
•Exempting flowlines and intra-facility gathering lines at oil production facilities from all secondary containment requirements, while establishing more specific oil spill prevention measures.
•Clarifying the definition of “permanently closed” as it applies to an oil production facility.
EPA is proposing the following amendments to the SPCC rule for animal fats and vegetable oils:
•Differentiated integrity testing requirements for containers that store animal fats and vegetable oils and meet certain criteria and FDA regulatory requirements.
•A definition for “loading/unloading rack”.
•Streamlined requirements and allowance of an SPCC Plan template for a subset of qualified facilities, known as “Tier 1” qualified facilities (for example, those with no individual oil storage container with a capacity greater than 5,000 US gallons up to an aggregate container capacity of 10,000 gallons).
Additionally, all SPCC-regulated facilities, including facilities that handle animal fats and vegetable oils would be potentially affected by the proposed amendments to provide:
•Clarity on the general secondary containment requirements.
•Flexibility in the security requirements.
•Flexibility in the use of industry standards to comply with integrity testing requirements.
•Additional flexibility in meeting the facility diagram requirements.
•Clarification on the definition of “facility” associated with describing a facility’s boundaries.
EPA also is taking comment on approaches that could be used to establish alternative criteria for an oil production facility to be eligible to self-certify an SPCC Plan as a qualified facility, and approaches to address produced water containers at oil production facilities.
The proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register within two weeks and comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication, EPA said.
The current EPA information in available online at epa.gov. An EPA helpline is available at 800-424-9346.
See other coverage on SPCC issues in Bulk Transporter online.
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