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Required Elements of Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans

The Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation requires that the SPCC Plan be prepared in accordance with good engineering practices and be approved by a person with the authority to commit the resources necessary to implement the SPCC Plan. The SPCC Plan should clearly address the following three areas:

  • Operating procedures that prevent oil spills;
  • Control measures installed to prevent a spill from reaching navigable waters; and
  • Countermeasures to contain, clean up, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that reaches navigable waters.


Each SPCC Plan must be unique to the facility. Development of a unique SPCC Plan requires detailed knowledge of the facility and the potential effects of any oil spill. Each SPCC Plan, while unique to the facility it covers, must include certain standard elements to ensure compliance with the regulations. These elements include:

Among other items, an SPCC Plan must include the following information:

  • A description of the physical layout and a facility diagram.

  • Contact list and phone numbers for the facility response coordinator, National Response Center, cleanup contractors, and all appropriate federal, state, and local agencies who must be contacted in case of a discharge.

  • A prediction of the direction, rate of flow, and total quantity of oil that could be dischared where experience indicates a potential for equipment failure.

  • A description of containment and/or diversionary structures or equipment to prevent discharged oil from reaching navigable waters. (For on-shore facilities, one of the following must be used at a minimum: dikes, berms, or retaining walls; curbing; culverting, gutters, or other drainage systems; weirs, booms, or other barriers; spill diversion ponds; retention ponds; sorbent materials.)

  • Where appropriate, a demonstration that containment and/or diversionary structures or equipment are not practical; periodic integrity and leak testing of bulk containers and associated valves and piping; oil spill contingency plan; and a written commitment of manpower, equipment, and materials to quickly control and remove spilled oil.

  • A complete discussion of the spill prevention and control measures applicable to the facility and/or its operations.


The SPCC Plan must include a demonstration of management's approval and must be certified by a licensed professional engineer.


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