When the dairy industry finally secured the long sought-after exemption for milk from the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC) Rule (under the Clean Water Act), there was a collective sigh of relief.
The “but” or footnote to this milk exemption is this: the November 10, 2011, deadline. What happens after this deadline is anyone’s guess. Will there be enforcement action? No one can say with any certainty. What we do know is that the penalties under the Clean Water Act can be very significant and costly.
So, what should you do? Whether you are a dairy producer, crop farmer, beef feedlot, or make widgets for that matter, the issue is your capacity to store regulated oils and whether you need an SPCC plan. The following is a suggested, step-by-step approach to consider as you comply with the SPCC requirements:
1.Go to the National Milk Producers Federation website (www.nmpf.org). At the top of the page is “Issues Watch.” Here you will see a drop down menu; click on “Energy and Environment.” From here you can access “Tool to Develop a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.”
2. Watch the on-line tutorial and/or view the self-certification template.
3. If the SPCC regulations do not apply to you, document your exemption, printout the documentation, and keep it on file. If there are other key contacts at your farm, make sure they are aware of this as well.
4. If you can self-certify using the template, do so and make sure your plan is fully implemented. Again, keep a copy of the completed and signed template in your files and make it available to key personnel so they can present it in the event of an inspection by a state or federal regulator.
5. If you cannot self-certify and you need a professional engineer to certify your plan, you can contact our office for a cost to develop and certify your plan. You can contact either Christopher Paré (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Matthew Schroeder, P.E. (email@example.com) at 248-932-0228 for more information.
As compliance/implementation may involve some capital improvements, it would be prudent to evaluate your applicability as soon as possible. If you wait until the fall of 2011 to prepare and implement your SPCC plan, you may risk missing the deadline.