Oil and Fuel Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Program for Farms (WQ1486)

The goal of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) program is the prevention of oil spills into navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. Certain farms, based on quantity of stored petroleum, and other facilities must have an SPCC plan to prevent oil spills and for cleanup and mitigation following a spill. If a farm or facility meets the definition of this regulation, it must have a plan.

Revised by Ken Hellevang, Ph.D, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer

Who Must Comply

Under the SPCC rule, a farm is considered “a facility on a tract of land devoted to the production of crops or raising of animals, including fish, which produced and sold, or normally would have produced and sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during a year.”

A Farm is Included If:

• Oil or oil products such as gasoline, lube oil, diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fats are transferred, used or consumed and

• More than 2,500 U.S. gallons are stored in aboveground containers and

• Oil reasonably could be expected to discharge into waters such as interstate waters, intrastate lakes, rivers and streams, or adjoining shorelines. The nature and flow properties of oil when combined with a rain event must be considered.


• Containers storing residential heating oil are excluded.

• Only containers that are 55 U.S. gallons and larger should be included in the total.

• Additional parcels of land, owned or leased, may be considered separate facilities for SPCC purposes and, as determined by the operator, need separate plans.

What if I have more than 2,500 U.S. gallons of oil or fuel storage at my farm or facility?

To choose the appropriate action or plan, you need to determine the total capacity of oil and oil products and container sizes at your facility.

SPCC Plan Not Required if the Farm Has:

• An aggregate above-ground storage capacity of less than 2,500 gallons


• An aggregate above-ground storage capacity greater than 2,500 gallons but less than 6,000 gallons and

• No reportable discharge history

A reportable discharge history is a single oil discharge that exceeds 1,000 gallons or two discharges, each that exceeds 42 gallons, within any 12-month period during the prior three years.

A Farmer Can Self-certify the SPCC Plan if the Farm Has:

• An aggregate above-ground storage capacity greater than 6,000 gallons but less than 20,000 gallons

• No individual tank with capacity greater than 10,000 U.S. gallons

• No reportable discharge history

A Farmer Must Have a Licensed Professional Engineer Certify the SPCC Plan if the Farm Has:

• An individual tank with an above-ground storage capacity greater than 10,000 gallons


• An aggregate above-ground storage capacity greater than or equal to 20,000 gallons


• A reportable discharge history

Information You Need to Prepare a Plan

• A diagram of oil container storage for 55 U.S. gallons and greater, including the container’s size, contents and location

• The procedures to be used to prevent oil spills, including overfill prevention, such as an established procedure to fill containers or measures such as an audible vent or alarm, and a schedule of inspections of above-ground pipes and containers

• The measures installed to prevent oil from reaching water, such as dikes constructed of earth or other approved materials, remote impoundments for bulk storage containers or double-walled tanks

• The measures to be used to contain and clean up an oil spill, including a list of emergency contacts and first responders

Failure to Comply

When a plan is required, failure to produce a plan if the farm is inspected by the Environmental Protection Agency may result in a fine.

Additional information

EPA Sites-production

EPA Spill-prevention-control-and-countermeasure

NDSU Extension SPCC information

This publication was authored by Roxanne Johnson, former NDSU Extension water quality associate, 2010.

Extension Logo

 (Revised June 2018)

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.