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State-Specific Considerations for SPCC Plans in North Carolina and South Carolina

Posted: September 1st, 2021

Authors: Jacob N. 

This blog is part of a series that covers key state-specific requirements for petroleum containing aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) with respect to Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) compliance with 40 CFR Part 112.7(j).

In this edition, ALL4 will continue our series with key SPCC and tank requirements in North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC).

North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ), generally does not regulate the installation, construction, permitting or monitoring of aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) except for those ASTs that are located at an Oil Terminal Facility as defined by the North Carolina General Statue (NCGS), Chapter 143, Article 21A. NC DEQ defines an Oil Terminal Facility as any facility on land or water which has transferred, stored, processed, or refined oil, excluding any facility with a storage capacity of less than 500 barrels (21,000 gallons) of oil and excluding any public retail gasoline operations. An Oil Terminal Facility must be registered within 30 days of the start of operations as required at NCGS 143-215.96. The definition of oil at NCGS 143-215.77(8) does not include animal or vegetable fats, which are included in the definition of oil for SPCC Plans in 40 CFR Part 112.2. The key takeaway is that NC DEQ AST requirements focus on registration of the larger ASTs at oil terminals, not retail containers, and some industrial facilities with oil storage. Animal and vegetable oil storage tanks – however large – are not covered by this requirement.

NC DEQ requires that all petroleum discharges into the environment are immediately collected and removed within 24 hours. In addition to this requirement, any petroleum discharge that meets the following thresholds must be reported to the NC DEQ Underground Storage Tank (UST) Section Regional Office within 24 hours as required at NCGS 143-215.85(b):

  • 25 gallons or more of petroleum as defined at NCGS 145-215.94A;
  • Where oil sheen is present on a surface water; or
  • 100 feet or less from a surface water body.

If a petroleum discharge does not meet the thresholds listed above but the petroleum discharge cannot be collected and removed within 24 hours, NC DEQ must be notified immediately.

All SPCC Plans in NC must be certified by a professional engineer (PE) licensed by the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCBELS). NC DEQ does not require PE certification for qualified facilities, defined in 40 CFR Part 112.3(g), for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) does not require PE certification of tiered SPCC Plans. However, NCBELS Policy Number BP-1709-2 states that only PEs are allowed to write SPCC Plans. The result is that a preparer of a qualified plan is considered to have “practiced engineering” and thus needs to be licensed.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) does not regulate ASTs. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SC DA) regulates petroleum products at the South Carolina Code of State Regulations, Chapter 5, Article 10. SC DA requires under R.5-447(2)(A-C) that all fill connections of a retail storage tank are clearly labeled and the volume of each regulated product and total volume of the retail storage tank can be determined by a calibration chart or other means. In general, the SC DA requirements affect your SPCC facility’s equipment, but the state regulations do not have a significant impact on your SPCC plan itself.

SC DHEC’S website does highlight important guidelines for ASTs, including:

  • Common causes of AST failures, including improper installation, construction failures, corrosion, and improper operations.
  • Best practices including routine maintenance, safety measures during deliveries, and inspection of overfill devices.
  • Signs of potential spills including rusted equipment, misshapen tank walls, strong odors, oil sheens, or dead vegetation or animals in the surrounding area.

SPCC Plans in SC must be certified by a PE licensed by the South Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors except for qualified facilities for which the U.S. EPA does not require PE certification.

Up Next

Stay tuned for upcoming articles that will continue to cover additional AST requirements in states across the country. If you have any questions on AST compliance in North Carolina, South Carolina, or another state, please feel free to reach out to Jacob Nelson at jnelson@all4inc.com and 984-777-3118 x709 or Mark Robinson at mrobinson@all4inc.com and 470-893-2880.

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