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Facility Inspections

EPA Regional personnel periodically go on-site to inspect facilities subject to the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation. The inspections have two purposes. First, inspections help to ensure that oil storage facilities comply with the regulation. Second, on-site inspections give the EPA personnel the opportunity to educate owners and operators about the regulation and methods for ensuring compliance. In many cases, the EPA notifies the facility owner or operator of the inspection prior to arriving at the facility. Announced inspections ensure the availability of appropriate facility personnel and build a working relationship between the Agency and the facility. However, the EPA occasionally conducts unannounced facility inspections in order to gauge a facility's preparedness to prevent or respond to an oil spill.

Once at the facility, EPA inspectors may ask to review the SPCC Plan and the Facility Response Plan and conduct a walk-through inspection of the facility to ensure that the facility has implemented spill prevention and response measures. In addition, the EPA may interview facility personnel on the SPCC and  Facility Response Plan, and their role in implementing them.

In most cases, the EPA finds that facilities are in compliance; however, when the Agency encounters a facility that violates the oil spill prevention regulations, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Water Act to assess an administrative penalty. In dealing with out-of-compliance facilities, however, EPA strives to work with facility owners and operators to remedy any problems identified.

Related Information
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan Reviews

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