Fuel Storage Requirements Affect Farmers

Effective Nov. 10, 2011, farms with above-ground fuel storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons will be required to implement and maintain a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan to prevent the discharge of oil or face financial penalties by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Although the original Oil Pollution Prevention Rule, published in the Clean Water Act, has been implemented since the 1970s, several amendments to the rule have been made during the last decade.

“The basic intent of the SPCC plan is to make sure farmers who store large amounts of fuel or other petroleum products are putting measures in place that will protect the area surrounding their properties, specifically groundwater and surface water,” said Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs. “With this regulation the EPA is saying that we need to be thinking about fuel storage as much as pesticide and fertilizer storage.”

An article in Ohio’s Country Journal states that the new amendments regarding regulated totals pertain only to petroleum products stored in stationary tanks and containers of at least 55 gallons. Gasoline, diesel fuel and oil in tractors, trucks and other vehicular machinery are exempt.

Farmers who store between 1,321 gallons and 10,000 gallons of fuel or other petroleum products can self-certify a written plan, while those farms with more than 10,000 gallons must have a certified professional engineer write a plan that includes:
  • How products are stored
  • The location of the storage
  • The farm’s topography
  • Steps that will be taken in the event of a spill
After the SPCC plan is written, it should be kept on the farm and be available to EPA inspectors in case they are called to the farm to respond to a spill.

Farmers can learn more about the fuel storage regulation by visiting the EPA’s SPCC website.

What do you think of this new requirement? Do you think it’s necessary? Do you know a farmer who may be affected by the requirement?

Photo obtained from: growmark.com

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