The Truth About Spill Control

What Makes You a Better Risk


We regularly get calls from dealers who say their bank is requiring an SPCC plan.  A  SPCC is an acronym for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures.  The purpose of the rule is to keep an oil spill from getting into waterways by putting spill prevention measures in place and teaching employees what to do if the measures fail or are circumvented.

Revised several times over the years, the SPCC rules were first promulgated in 1973 and apply to dealerships with more than 1,320 gallons of above ground storage tanks and drums containing oil or oil-related materials. When you take into account various new oils, used oils, transmission fluids and brake clean materials, it is not difficult to exceed the threshold limit of 1,320 gallons. Some SPCC directors at EPA region offices even want spent antifreeze containers included in the inventory, because that material is invariably contaminated with oil.  If your dealership has more than 1,320 gallons, your facility may need a written SPCC Plan and you need to implement training to support the written plan.

If you have more than the threshold quantity of storage and you don’t have a plan, you’re in violation of provisions of the Clean Water Act and subject to substantial fines. If you have an uncontained spill without a plan or proper training, your liability, including fines and remediation, could be sizeable.

A few years ago, a dispenser seal on a dealer’s fresh oil tank let go while the compressor was still on. Before anyone noticed, over three hundred gallons of lube oil covered the service department floor and was running down the drain. Because the facility was less than a month old, the triple traps were empty and they contained the spill. Other dealerships have not been so lucky and the EPA doesn’t want you to depend on luck.

To determine whether or not an SPCC Plan is required at your dealership, the environmental consultants at ComplyNet can provide a free evaluation. They can be reached at 847.915.6363.

“Due to your program and the cooperation of our managers and employees, our claims are down and our carrier recognizes that Elmhurst Ford is systematically proactive.”

Chicagoland Area Ford Dealer