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Fuel Storage Regs Tighten

Fuel Storage Regs Tighten

High-volume, on-farm storage will soon require written plan for preventing and handling spills

Farmers who store more than 1,320 gallons of fuel or other petroleum products on their farms will soon need a written plan to prevent and handle spills, a Purdue University specialist says.

The plans are covered in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation amendments that take effect Nov. 10, according to Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs.

The federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (S)CC) regulation was adopted in 1974. It has been amended over the years. Under the new amendments, only petroleum products stored in stationary tanks and containers of at least 55 gallons are counted toward the regulated total. Gasoline, diesel fuel and oil in tractors, trucks and other vehicular machinery are exempt.

Farmers would not be required to write a plan if their more than 1,320 gallons of petroleum products are stored on separate farms, so long as no single farm stores the regulated minimum. If you're between 1,321 gallons and 10,000 gallons, you can self-certify your written plan. If you store more than 10,000 gallons, the plan must be written by a certified professional engineer.

The regs are designed to divide the smaller everyday users of products from those who store much larger quantities.

Farmers can expect to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 to hire an engineer to write a plan, says Whitford. The plan includes such information as how petroleum products are stored, the location of storage units, the farm's topography and what steps would be taken in the event of a spill. The document is kept on the farm. EPA does not receive a copy, but if they need to respond to a spill, they will ask to see the plan.

To learn more, visit the EPA's SPCC website, which also includes links for farmers and a template for writing a SPCC plan.

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