In response government regulations and eco friendly incentives, more and more facilities are finding new ways to go green. It’s always a good idea to stay in line with Uncle Sam, but facility owners and operators often discover that protecting the environment also delivers worthwhile ROI. Win win.
Back in 2007, the EPA introduced the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Regulations that require facilities with large amount of oil storage (1,320+ gallons aboveground, 42,000+ gallons underground) to have a written plan addressing how it will prevent and/or respond to oil spills.
This makes sense. Oil products pose a threat to the environment and our safety if accidentally spilled or leaked into soil, ground water, or surface water.
SPCC regulations apply to facilities that handle “petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, oil mixed with wastes, fats, greases, and vegetable oils,” and I’m sure these preventative measures come as no surprise to those involved in oil-related industries.
The good news—the EPA doesn’t specify the means by which facilities must control spills. Rather, the regulations afford facility owners and operators the autonomy to decide how they will comply and to determine the best methods for their facility.
The bad news—the EPA doesn’t specify the means by which facilities must control spills, which means owners and operators are on their own in devising a plan. All the EPA asks is that the methods align with accepted “good engineering practices,” and in some cases be certified by a Professional Engineer (PE). Pretty vague.
The SPCC report does suggest using containers suitable for flammable liquids, installing overflow alarms or vents, and constructing secondary containment areas.
Secondary containment areas are common solutions in the oil industry as they connect to bulk storage and can handle any accidental overflow. They are not infallible, however. The EPA recommends that pipes and containers be periodically inspected.
For additional spill protection, facilities should reinforce containment walls. SolarShell fiberglass laminate does just that—soft SolarShell sheets conform to the shape of the containment area, bonds with steel or concrete walls, and cures into an impenetrable shell that will prevent potential leaks and spills.
If secondary containment is a part of your facility’s spill prevention plan, consider reinforcing the area with laminate. In the oil industry, owners and operators can never be too careful. According to the EPA, a single gallon of oil can contaminate a million gallons of water, damaging both the environment and a company’s pocketbook.
What else can your facility do to enhance existing preventative measures?