SPCC Underground Storage Tank Applicability Requirements

The applicability of U.S. EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) rule, found at 40 CFR 112, is based upon two criteria:

1. The first criterion is the determination of whether a discharge of oil, in harmful quantities, can potentially occur into or upon navigable waters of the United States. Navigable waters are broadly defined to include waterways, swamps, lowlands, intermittent ditches, and storm and sanitary sewers.

2. The second criterion is the determination of whether the specified oil storage capacity volumes are exceeded. These volumes are as follows:

a. Greater than 42,000 gallons underground oil storage capacity; or

b. Greater than 1,320 gallons combined aboveground oil storage capacity in quantities greater than or equal to 55 gallons.

An SPCC Plan must be developed if both the discharge potential criterion and quantity criterion are met.

Many EHS professionals are aware of the oil storage capacity criterion (1,320 gallons) for aboveground storage, but how often does the buried storage capacity of 42,000 gallons actually trigger the need for an SPCC plan?