Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan protects environment, property values
May 10 is the final date for all farmers with on-farm petroleum storage exceeding 1,320 gallons to have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan in place. A University of Missouri Extension water quality specialist says putting together a plan is fairly simple and can provide several benefits.
"Having this plan in place may be one of the cheapest forms of insurance you can get," said Bob Broz. "The plan is really a very good way of helping protect property values. Yes, it is going to help protect the environment, it is going to protect water quality, but it is also protects that land value in case you do ever have a spill. The cost of cleaning up a spill, what you have to do, and what you are going to have to be aware of become major issues if you ever decide to sell that property."
The Environmental Protection Agency has a series of easy-to-use templates and instructions for determining if you need a SPCC plan and what you need to include at www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc.
Broz says the plan is pretty basic, stating how many storage containers, how much and what kinds of petroleum are in each one, where they are located and what action you would take if a spill occurred.
"You develop the plan of action you would use," Broz said. "Do you have a shovel that is easy to get to? Do you have some type of absorbent material you can use? What is it you need to do to say, 'Here is how I would protect the environment and keep this from moving into waterways'?"
The plans are self-certified, so it is up to you how it is distributed, Broz said. EPA asks farmers to revisit the plan every five years for a self-inspection, so there isn't much red tape.
EPA has a secondary containment law that ties in with the SPCC. If you have one tank of 660 gallons or a combination of tanks of 1,320 gallons, you should have secondary containment. Secondary containment can be a double-walled tank or it can be a tank inside another tank.
"The question a lot of people are asking is, 'Do I need to do the SPCC plan and do the secondary containment?'" Broz said. "Right now you need to focus on the plan. The secondary containment part of it, yes, you probably need to do that, but right now the SPCC is just asking how you plan to reduce the possibility of a spill getting into the environment."