The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that the compliance date for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule is May 10, 2013.

By that time, farmers subject to the rule must prepare and implement an SPCC plan. Farmers who already have such a plan in place must maintain that plan.

The SPCC rule regulates farms that meet all three of the following criteria:

• The farm stores, transfers, uses or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat;

• The farm stores more than 1,320 U.S. gallons of the aforementioned products in above ground containers or more than 42,000 U.S. gallons in completely buried containers;

• The farm could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.

A farmer must only count containers of oil that have a storage capacity of 55 U.S. gallons or more.

Milk and milk product containers and associated piping and appurtenances; home heating oil tanks at single family homes; pesticide containers used to mix and load formulations; and pesticide application equipment are exempted from the SPCC rule.

Farmers who do not have a plan should prepare one and implement it by the May 10 deadline.

If a farm has a storage capacity of more than 10,000 gallons or has had an oil spill, the plan may need to have the plan certified by a Professional Engineer.

If a farm has total on-farm storage capacity between 1,320 and 10,000 gallons in above ground containers, no container with greater than 5,000 gallon capacity, and has a good spill history, the farmer may prepare and self-certify his or her own plan.

The plan must include the contents and locations of oil containers at the farm, the procedures and methods used to prevent spills, measures installed to prevent the oil from reaching waters in the event of a spill, measures to be used in the event of a spill and a list of emergency contacts and first responders if a spill occurs.

Plans must be kept up to date, especially if modifications are made, and must be reviewed every five years.

If a farm meets the above criteria and is subject to the SPCC rule, it is important to review additional information and seek assistance if needed. The EPA website which offers this information can be accessed by clicking here. Notably, it also includes links to templates for plans.

Please click here for a one-page guide, published by EPA, that offers assistance in determining if an operation is covered by the SPCC regulation and the steps necessary to ensure compliance with SPCC regulations.