Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures

The Spill Prevention Control Countermeasures (SPCC) rule establishes the equipment, methods and procedures to prevent discharges of oil into or upon waters of the United States. The federal Oil Pollution Prevention rule was originally published in 1973 under the authority of §311 of the Clean Water Act for:

  • the prevention of,
  • preparedness for, and
  • response to oil discharges at regulated facilities.

Under the rule, facilities identify any container with ≥ 55 gallons of oil that could potentially reach waterways – either directly or through sanitary or storm sewers. Identified containers are included in the SPCC plan with the measures that will be used to prevent spills, protect the containers from accidental damage, and manage spills to prevent entry into a waterway. The primary mechanism for compliance with this regulation is secondary containment and regular visual inspection of regulated containers.

In addition to its federal counterpart, the Minnesota Spill Bill requires handlers of oil and hazardous substances to prevent and prepare for spills of regulated substances, and to be prepared at all times to rapidly and thoroughly recover discharges.

tanks-barrelsFinally, the Minnesota Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) and Underground Storage Tank (UST) rules specify construction methods, leak detection, corrosion prevention and overflow prevention standards for tanks, piping and dispensers of materials that could cause pollution if released.

At the University, several University locations are subject to SPCC planning requirements — including the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, and Moris campuses, and several of the Research and Outreach Centers.

University Spill Planning

At the University, regulated containers include:

  • Fuel tanks—including steam plant fuel (distillate), fleet operation fuel (unleaded, diesel, E85), emergency generator fuel (distillate/diesel fuel)
  • Hydraulic reservoirs—including elevators, escalators, unloading/loading equipment (walking floors) and, pressess/compactors/balers
  • Transformers containing di-electric fluid
  • Fluid-containing equipment (cooling, crankcases, printing press, treadmill)
  • Fluid processes (solvents, paints, inks)
  • Research (mechanical and civil engineering, biofuels, chemistry and biochemistry)

Visit the Land Programs page for more information about University tanks. SPCC Plans must be amended every 5 years, and amended within 6 months of a change in facility design, operation or maintenance that materially affects the facility's spill potential.