On July 8, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “tweet” with the headline, “Companies in Vermont and Massachusetts face sanctions for failing to prevent oil spills.” It looks like the EPA has moved to social media for its regulatory updates (and warnings)! The sanctions were related to violations under Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations Part 112 (40 CFR 112) “Oil Pollution Prevention” which requires companies that store more than 1,320 gallons of oil in aboveground containers to prepare and maintain a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan. The purpose of preparing and maintaining an SPCC plan is to prevent and contain spills in order to minimize environmental damage when spills do occur. In addition, companies, through their SPCC plans, must ensure that they can adequately respond to a spill by having adequate employee training and spill response equipment.
The two New England based companies mentioned were issued significant penalties (i.e., in excess of $100K) for failing to take the required precautions to prevent and contain oil spills from their facility activities. Similar penalties are frequently issued by the EPA for a regulatory program with requirements that are relatively easy to meet. Why? Most of the time the companies that get fined don’t know about the regulation and therefore they don’t have an SPCC plan in place. In addition to paying a penalty, companies are required to come into compliance by preparing an SPCC Plan under a consent order. Don’t be the next source of EPA revenue! If you don’t have an SPCC plan, conduct an inventory of oil storage at your facility to determine if you exceed the 1,320 gallon threshold and be sure to include all animal, vegetable, mineral and synthetic oils.
If you want more information, please contact Wayne Bates at 508.970.0033 x121 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm)