In a major victory for the New England Fuel Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exempted cargo tank vehicles, including heating oil trucks, from sized secondary containment requirements under Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules while parked at bulk plant facilities.

The victory could save members thousands of dollars in otherwise costly and burdensome compliance costs and potential fines for non-compliance.

This is a major victory for NEFI members, who were required under the former SPCC rule to provide “size” secondary containment for trucks parked with product that would be sufficient to hold the contents of the single largest compartment. NEFI was quick to act on this issue after members in EPA Region I (New England) began reporting cases of enforcement of this obscure provision, imposing stiff fines on some heating oil dealers and requiring construction of expensive secondary containment areas for parked trucks.

Under the new SPCC rule, petroleum trucks parked at bulk plants are not required to be parked within secondary containment structures. Instead, these trucks must comply with the general secondary containment provision, which requires containment of the “most likely” release, which in this case would be a leaky valve or hose rather than a catastrophic release from a compartment. As a result, heating oil and other fuel dealers can now meet SPCC secondary containment requirements for parked trucks by providing release protection as simple as drip pans and absorbent.

The development came as part of a broader, 200+ page rulemaking released this week making a final round of amendments to the SPCC regulations. NEFI had submitted comments to the EPA earlier this year advocating for the exemption, and the completely agreed with NEFI’s arguments, especially the unwarranted burden it places on small business fuel dealers.

The rule makes many other modifications to the SPCC rule of interest to members, including:

An exemption for residential heating oil tanks in single family homes;
modifications to the “”navigable waters” definition in order to comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling; and
a delay in the SPCC compliance deadline for plan revision and implementation from July 1, 2009 to November 20, 2009.

NEFI Regulatory Counsel Mark S. Morgan is currently reviewing the rule in detail and more comprehensive guidance is forthcoming. Also, a comprehensive NEFI SPCC Compliance Webinar will soon be offered that will include the newest revisions to the rule. Visit or contact Dave Huffman at (617) 923-5022 or dave@ to sign up.

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