A lot more facilities will need spill plans soon

Brace yourself for new – and much more wide-ranging – spill plan regs from EPA. 

Under a court order, the agency must propose Clean Water Act regs for preventing and containing hazardous discharges from facilities.

You may be wondering, Didn’t EPA already do that with Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC)?

Yes and no. The SPCC rule dropped a load of new requirements for sites that handle and move oil – but only oil.

Since then, watchdog groups have been pushing for more protections against non-oil spills and leaks.

“Hazardous substances” could include any and all kinds of chemicals, and possibly hazardous waste, that’s stored near navigable waters.

The group facing the most regulatory burdens will be smaller facilities that currently store chemicals but not oil.

Whole new ballgame on horizon

Here’s what we know so far from the court order:

New regs would cover on-shore facilities that handle, transport, store or process hazardous substances.

Like the SPCC and EPA’s Facility Response Plan rules, expect guidelines that cover:

• material and waste containers

• equipment (such as tanks)

• secondary containment and drainage measures

• leak- and spill-detection technology

• inspections and recordkeeping

• facility design, construction and operation, and

• spill plan and emergency response procedures.

An EPA rule is due by August 2017, and a final rule no more than 14 months after that.

Caveat: If EPA decides it needs more info from industry, the agency will make an info call request by the end of April.

Doing so would extend the deadlines listed above by 10 months each.

 

For more information contact AET Environmental (303) 333-8521