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Is your fuel storage up to snuff?

On May 10, 2013, farms must have both prepared and implemented their Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans if they fall under regulation by the EPA. Farms with 1,320 gallons above-ground storage or 42,000 gallons below-ground storage of oil or oil products meet the requirements to have a SPCC. This includes all containers 55 gallons or greater. The implementation date was delayed from its original date in the fall of 2011.

Two basic requirements need to be met to comply. The first is having sufficient secondary containment for storage and transfer areas to contain any spillage. The containment area is designed to prevent discharge until cleanup can occur and is usually designed to hold 110% of the largest container or tank in the area. The second requirement is to prepare and implement a written SPCC plan that covers all of the steps the farm has taken to prevent discharges into the environment. The plan must be updated every five years or in the event of a major redesign of the area. Any employees handling oil and petroleum products must be trained on what the plan involves.

Some farms may need to have their plan approved by a professional engineer. If on-farm storage is between 1,320 and 10,000 gallons, you are allowed to prepare and self-certify if you have not had any spills of 1,000 gallons or more at once or less than two discharges of more than 42 gallons in the last year. Also, if secondary containment is not practical or alternative methods of diking or secondary containment are to be used, a professional engineer will need to certify.

On completion, the plan must be kept on-site. It does not need to be sent to EPA but may be requested if a major discharge event occurs. More in-depth information on creating a plan for farms can be found at the SPCC for Agriculture page on the EPA site. This fact sheet also provides a good overview. Additionally, more information can be found in a previous Ohio Ag Manager article located here.

Editor's Note: Amanda Douridas, Ohio State University Extension Educator, compiled this report.

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