General Description

As we know, oil spills can cause horrific impact to human health, the environment and the economy. The Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure rule was promulgated under EPA’s Clean Water Act in 1974. The goal is to help facilities containing oil sources to prevent discharges into navigable waterways. The rule may be found in 40 CFR 112.

Under SPCC, “oil” is very widely defined and includes, but is not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, oil refuse and sludge, animal fats, oils or greases, vegetable oils and greases and other oils and greases including synthetic and mineral oils.

A facility is subject to SPCC and required to prepare and implement an SPCC plan if it has an aggregate aboveground capacity greater than 1320 gallons in containers 55-gallons or greater or an underground capacity greater than 42,000 gallons and there is a reasonable expectation of a discharge into a navigable waterway or adjoining shoreline.

Plans must be reviewed and amended every five years or when facility information (personnel, oil sources, etc.) change.

Elements oLeaky drumf an SPCC plan include:

  • Facility description and diagram
  • Discharge calculations
  • Secondary containment
  • Likely spill path
  • Site security
  • Facility Inspections
  • Container requirements
  • Transfer procedures and equipment
  • Training and recordkeeping requirements
  • Management approval and plan certification

University of Wisconsin institutions may utilize a state-contracted professional engineering firm to prepare and update facility SPCC plans.

General regulatory citations and referenced standards

40 CFR 112


SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors
Oil Truck

Training requirements

40 CFR Part 112.7(f) states “(1) At a minimum, train your oil-handling personnel in the operation and maintenance of equipment to prevent discharges; discharge procedure protocols; applicable pollution control laws, rules, and regulations; general facility operations; and, the contents of the facility SPCC Plan.

(2) Designate a person at each applicable facility who is accountable for discharge prevention and who reports to facility management.

(3) Schedule and conduct discharge prevention briefings for your oil-handling personnel at least once a year to assure adequate understanding of the SPCC Plan for that facility. Such briefings must highlight and describe known discharges as described in 40 CFR Part 112.1(b) or failures, malfunctioning components, and any recently developed precautionary measures.”

Training should include understanding SPCC regulations and the facility’s plan; operating procedures that prevent oil spills; familiarity with the control measures that are in place to prevent oil spills reaching navigable waters; familiarity with emergency response procedures and mobilization of key personnel; awareness of evacuation routes and procedures; and reporting and record-keeping requirements.

Amend and review

§ 112.5 Amendment of Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan by owners or operators.

If you are the owner or operator of a facility subject to this part, you must:

(a) Amend the SPCC Plan for your facility in accordance with the general requirements in § 112.7, and with any specific section of this part applicable to your facility, when there is a change in the facility design, construction, operation, or maintenance that materially affects its potential for a discharge as described in § 112.1(b). Examples of changes that may require amendment of the Plan include, but are not limited to: commissioning or decommissioning containers; replacement, reconstruction, or movement of containers; reconstruction, replacement, or installation of piping systems; construction or demolition that might alter secondary containment structures; changes of product or service; or revision of standard operation or maintenance procedures at a facility. An amendment made under this section must be prepared within six months, and implemented as soon as possible, but not later than six months following preparation of the amendment.

(b) Notwithstanding compliance with paragraph (a) of this section, complete a review and evaluation of the SPCC Plan at least once every five years from the date your facility becomes subject to this part; or, if your facility was in operation on or before August 16, 2002, five years from the date your last review was required under this part. As a result of this review and evaluation, you must amend your SPCC Plan within six months of the review to include more effective prevention and control technology if the technology has been field-proven at the time of the review and will significantly reduce the likelihood of a discharge as described in § 112.1(b) from the facility. You must implement any amendment as soon as possible, but not later than six months following preparation of any amendment. You must document your completion of the review and evaluation, and must sign a statement as to whether you will amend the Plan, either at the beginning or end of the Plan or in a log or an appendix to the Plan. The following words will suffice, “I have completed review and evaluation of the SPCC Plan for (name of facility) on (date), and will (will not) amend the Plan as a result.”

(c) Except as provided in § 112.6, have a Professional Engineer certify any technical amendments to your Plan in accordance with § 112.3(d).

Other resources

UW-Madison oil spill cleanup video

UW-Madison SPCC Training

UW-Milwaukee SPCC Page

SPCC Clarification

Tucson Electric Power Company Presentation


This publication was prepared for environmental, health and safety staff at University of Wisconsin System campuses, to assist in finding resources and information for regulatory compliance. It is not intended to render legal advice.

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