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Spill Containment Regulations

Given the gravity of a chemical or oil spill, it’s no surprise that several government agencies now regulate the use of chemicals.

The first and perhaps most prominent organization regulating spill containment is the EPA. In 1973 the EPA formed the SPCC, which now regulates the majority of spill containment issues.

Regardless of your industry, you must comply with SPCC laws if you meet the following standards:

  • You store over 1,320 gallons of oil
  • You have a “reasonable expectation of oil discharge” to water (based on your geographical location and proximity water)

To comply with SPCC, you must create a plan following EPA guidelines and then train your staff and perform regular maintenance inspections.

If you fail to comply with their regulations or the plan you’ve had approved by the SPCC, your organization could face hefty fines of $32,500 per day. In addition, you must review your plan every three years or when you modify your facility. Failure to do so would result in a fine of approximately $1,500 if no oil was spilled.

However, if there is spilled oil due to gross negligence, the company will be subject to a fine of at least $100,000.

In addition to the SPCC, OSHA also has a list of spill containment regulations. They require thorough training programs for employees, emergency response plans, and several other plans.

Therefore, you must take spill containment concerns seriously to prevent legal trouble.

Solving Safety Concerns With Spill Containment Systems

Fortunately, solving safety (and legal!) concerns regarding spill containment isn’t difficult.

Start by safely storing all chemicals and oils properly. For example, never store chemicals that don’t mix in close proximity. Additionally, if you keep chemicals on shelves, the containers should be placed in a bin or other form of containment with a rim to prevent it from falling over or off the shelf.

Labeling chemicals with keywords like corrosive, flammable, and oil is also a great way to reduce accidents.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, invest in equipment that prevents spills. Rather than relying on preventative measures, position your company to be prepared for worst-case scenarios by purchasing a spill berm. You can place these around containers, barrels, generators, vehicles, and more to contain any potential leaks that could occur.

Learn more about the tools you can use to minimize the consequences of manufacturing and industrial spills today.

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To order a compliant spill berm from Basic Concepts Inc. fill out our quick order form and one of our professional sales associates will contact you to make your request.

What is Environmental Compliance?

Environmental compliance means that a company or organization is conforming to all of the major laws, regulations and requirements involving environmental protection, health and safety in a given area. 

The Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency is one of the United States major regulations involving oil and fuel containment. The SPCC applies to facilities with total above ground storage tank (AST) capacity of more than 1,320 gallons in containers of 55 gallons or larger, or total buried capacity of more than 42,000 gallons.

The so-called “SPCC Rule” requires these facilities to take preventative steps against oil spills, such as using suitable tanks and containers and provide overflow protection. Petroleum bulk storage containers should include secondary containment, which goes into effect if primary containment fails. 

The EPA’s hazardous waste storage regulation 40 CFR 264.175 requires that secondary containment systems be impervious, free of gaps or cracks and chemically compatible with the material being stored. The containment system must have capacity to contain at least 10 percent of the total volume of the primary container or 100 percent of the volume of the largest container, whichever is larger. The system must either prevent precipitation such as rainwater or run-on from entering or have capacity to accommodate potential precipitation from a 24-hour, 25-year storm.

Material leaked or spilled into the secondary containment area must be removed as quickly as possible to avoid overflow and potential environmental contamination. 

Secondary containment should also be provided where oil is loaded and unloaded for transportation. Sorbent materials, drip pans and curbing can be used in these areas. 

When shopping for secondary spill containment products, consider factors such as the location, type and quantity of stored petrochemicals, the area topography and proximity to population centers, water or other environmentally sensitive areas, and the likelihood of risky construction activities such as fueling or vibration damage. For instance, oil spill containment products may not be effective in applications that involve hazardous chemicals.

  • Light-duty berms have a convenient, one-piece design that allows them to be folded for easy storage and transportation. These secondary spill containment products can be particularly suitable for emergency situations that require a fast response.
  • All-terrain berms are designed for rough or uneven ground conditions, such as military applications. 
  • Berm accessories include repair kits, ground and track guards, and oil stop valves.
  • Pillow tanks, also called bladder tanks, are constructed from fabric materials for storing fuel during emergency situations.

OSHA’s Hazardous Waste and Operational Emergency Response standards have separate designations for incidental spills, which are limited in quantity and pose no safety or health hazard to workers in the immediate area, and emergency spills, which involve an uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance.

  • Oil spill kits may be equipped differently based on whether they’re intended to clean incidental or emergency spills. Universal spill kits are designed for any spill, while others are intended solely for oil or hazardous materials.
  • Oil spill kits generally contain absorbent pads and mats, protective clothing, waste-handling bags and other items useful for cleaning up the spilled area.
  • Spill buckets are liquid-tight containers often placed around the fill pipes of underground tanks and designed to capture small drips or spills when the delivery hose is disconnected. They typically range in size from five to 25 gallons.
  • Sumps are liquid-tight containers usually attached to the top of an underground storage tank and used to contain leaks.

Given the different types of potential fuel spills, their clean-up costs and the potential of expensive fines, companies should choose spill containment products to protect the environment and save money. The best oil spill containment products will be durable enough to stand up to normal wear and tear while meeting a company’s specific containment needs.