Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans


What is a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan? 
An SPCC plan is a written document that describes measures one has taken to prevent, contain and clean up oil spills. The term "oil" includes gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and solvents. All SPCC plans must be certified by a professional engineer. 

Who needs an SPCC Plan?

 * Reflects changes made to this rule effective August 16, 2002. 

Any facility that has:

  • an aggregate aboveground petroleum storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons, or
  • an underground storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons which, in the event of a spill, could reasonably be expected to reach the navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines, must have a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan

What counts toward storage capacity? 
Storage capacity includes the capacity of all containers such as tanks, portable tanks, transformers, 55-gallon drums, etc. The capacity of any empty containers that may be used to store oil and are not permanently taken out of service are also counted in a facility's total storage capacity. Containers less than 55 gallons are exempt from the scope of these rules as of August 16, 2002. 

Does the term "oil" include vegetable oil, transformer oil, and other non-petroleum based oil? 
Yes. "Oil" is defined in 40 CFR 112.2 as oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse and oil mixed with wastes other than dredge spoil. This definition has been interpreted to include vegetable oil, mineral oil, transformer and other oils. 

Are SPCC plans required by law?
Yes, SPCC plans are required by federal regulation 40 CFR 112 which is implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Visit EPA on line for up to date information on this regulation: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/lawsregs.htm#froppr

Can I prepare my own SPCC plan?
Any facility operator may draft his or her own SPCC plan. Plans must be certified however. Reflecting a 2006 amendment to the rule, many facility operators may now self-certify their plan if they meet the EPA criteria detailed at http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/spcc_dec06.htm#amendments

Generally, a facility may self-certify their plan if they: 1) have had no single discharge exceeding 1,000 gallons or no two discharges each exceeding 42 gallons and 2) have an aggregate aboveground storage capacity of 10,000 U.S. gallons or less. ***Visit EPA site (above) for specific criteria.*** 

In 2009 EPA further classified those who may self-certify plans into Tier I and Tier II groups. EPA has a template for Tier I facilties that must be used by facilities meeting these criteria. To meet the Tier I applicability criteria, the facility must have: 

A. a total aboveground oil storage capacity of 10,000 U.S. gallons or less;

B. no aboveground oil storage containers with a capacity greater than 5,000 U.S. gallons; and

C. in the 3 years prior to the date the SPCC Plan is certified, had no single discharge of oil to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines exceeding 1,000 U.S. gallons, or no two discharges of oil to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines each exceeding 42 U.S. gallons within any 12-month period.

To learn more about Tier I criteria, and to access the EPA template for SPCC Plans at Tier I facilities, go to https://www.epa.gov/oil-spills-prevention-and-preparedness-regulations/my-facility-qualified-facility-under-spcc-rule

Facilities which do not meet self-certifying criteria (Tier I or II) must have a Professional Engineer certify and stamp their plan.

The Maryland Clean Marina Initiative has prepared free templates that operators of Tier II facilities can use to self-certify an SPCC Plan and a template that allows for P.E. certification when required or desired.

Click here to download the SELF-CERTIFY SPCC Plan template in MS Word (For Tier II facilities)
Click here to download the P.E. CERTIFIED SPCC Plan template in MS Word
Click here to download a "frame" for your site map (Adobe Acrobat file 18 KB)

Additional Information

Who do I give the SPCC plan to? 
A copy of the entire SPCC plan must be maintained at the marina if the facility is normally attended at least eight hours per day, or at the nearest field office if the facility is not so attended. Since a boating facility must be in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in order to be certified as a Maryland Clean Marina, any facility wishing to be recognized as a Clean Marina and that is subject to the SPCC requirements must submit a copy of its SPCC plan to the Clean Marina office. The SPCC plan is not required to be filed with the U.S. EPA, but a copy must be available for on-site review by the regional administrator during normal working hours. The SPCC plan must be submitted to the U.S. EPA Region III regional administrator and the Maryland Department of the Environment along with the other information specified in 40 CFR 112.4 if either of the following occurs:

  • the facility discharges more than 1,000 U.S. gallons of oil into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines in a single event, or
  • the facility discharges oil in excess of 42 gallons in two spill events within any twelve month period.

How often must I review the SPCC plan?

The facility owner or operator must review the SPCC plan at least every five years. These reviews must be documented.

When do I have to update the SPCC plan?

The SPCC regulation requires the owner or operator to amend the plan whenever there is a change in facility design, construction, operation, or maintenance that materially affects the facility's potential to discharge oil. Such amendments must be fully implemented not later than six months after the change occurs. All amendments must be certified by a registered professional engineer.