The SPCC Rule was originally issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1973 to address provisions of the Clean Water Act of 1972. Beginning in 2002, EPA amended the SPCC rule on several occasions, with the goal of streamlining some requirements. The SPCC rule outlines requirements for the “prevention of, preparedness for, and response to oil discharges” (U.S. EPA – Regulated facilities, which include some farms, must have SPCC plans in place to establish procedures to help prevent oil discharges from reaching waters of the United States.

With respect to the SPCC rule, the EPA defines a farm as “a facility on a tract of land devoted to the production of crops or raising of animals, including fish, which produced and sold, or normally would have produced and sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during a year.”

In order to know if the rule applies to your farm the following criteria must be understood. If your farm performs the following operations, then the rule applies.

  • Store, transfer, use or consume oil or oil products, AND
  • Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.

**It is important to note that the term “waters of the United States” is interpreted sufficiently broadly as to include the vast majority of properties in the United States.**

Farms that meet the above criteria are subject to the SPCC rule if they meet at least one of the following capacity thresholds:

  • Aboveground oils storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons, OR
  • Completely buried oil storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons
  • The following conditions are exempt from the SPCC rule:
  • Completely buried storage tanks subject to all of the technical requirements of the underground storage tank regulations
  • Containers with a storage capacity less than 55 gallons of oil
  • Wastewater treatment facilities
  • Permanently closed containers
  • Motive power containers – for example, automotive or truck fuel tanks.

**Note that fuel trailers that are used for storage and transportation of fuel products are not considered motive power containers and are, therefore, subject to the SPCC rules.

The deadline for compliance is November 10, 2010. All subject facilities must amend or prepare, and implement SPCC plans to be in accordance with the revisions to the SPCC rule promulgated since 2002.

If you are not sure if these rules apply to your facility, we recommend that you contact the Environmental Protection Agency or a reputable environmental consultant to determine whether or not you must prepare and implement an SPCC plan. Keep in mind, that even if you have an SPCC plan in place, if it does not meet the provisions that appear in the August 16, 2002 amended SPCC rule, then you are not in compliance.

Further information can be found at