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New EPA rule requires farms to have spill prevention plan

Published May. 17, 2010 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Starting in November, some farmers who store oil products must have a written plan for preventing and addressing spills.

Buckeye Farm News

A new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule would require farms to have a spill prevention plan in place later this year.

The Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Rule requires farms and other facilities to have a spill protection plan in place to help prevent oil spills that could damage waterways. The written plan must describe how to prevent and respond to a spill.

The new rule starts Nov. 10 but EPA has proposed extending the compliance date; that proposal is pending at the Office of Management and Budget. The rule applies to farms that store, transfer, use or consume oil or oil products such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil, animal fat or pesticides that are oil-based or mixed with oil and stored on the farm. The rule applies to farms that:

  • store more than 1,320 gallons above ground.
  • store more than 42,000 gallons in buried containers.
  • and could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waterways.

Farm Bureau filed comments on the proposed rule, and EPA addressed several of Farm Bureau’s concerns, said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau’s senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “But with no agriculture exemption in the law, the agency decided to move forward with enforcement of the rules.”

EPA has proposed exempting milk containers and associated piping and appurtenances from the SPCC requirements provided they are constructed according to current 3-A sanitary standards and are subject to the current applicable Grade A. Pesticide application equipment and related mix containers also would be exempt under the rule.

A spill protection plan should spell out what measures are taken to prevent spills from reaching waterways, who will clean up the spill and how. Instructions and plan templates can be found at

“Farmers who are near the thresholds need to read, understand and comply with these new requirements,” Sharp said.

For more information visit

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