SPCC Plans - Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that certain facilities develop and implement oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasure, or SPCC Plans.

Unlike oil spill contingency plans that typically address spill cleanup measures after a spill has occurred, SPCC plans ensure that facilities put in place containment and other countermeasures that would prevent oil spills that could reach navigable waters. Under EPA's Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, facilities must detail and implement spill prevention and control measures in their SPCC Plans. A spill contingency plan is required as part of the SPCC Plan if a facility is unable to provide secondary containment (e.g., berms surrounding the oil storage tank). In short, the plan must describe how you intend to operate your facility to prevent spills and what you will do to deal with them if they occur.

Does Your Facility Need A Spill Control & Countermeasures Plan?

In 1973, EPA issued the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation, which is codified at 40 CFR Part 112, to address the oil spill prevention provisions contained in the Clean Water Act of 1972. The regulation forms the basis of EPA's oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasures, or SPCC, program, which seeks to prevent oil spills from certain aboveground and underground storage tanks. In particular, the regulation applies to non-transportation-related facilities that:


  • Have an aggregate storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons; and could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities into navigable waters of the United States.
  • The regulation requires each owner or operator of a regulated facility to prepare an SPCC Plan. The Plan is required to address the facility's design, operation, and maintenance procedures established to prevent spills from occurring, as well as countermeasures to control, contain, clean up, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that could affect navigable waters.


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