EPA Begins Work to Expand Oil Spill Control Program to Include Hazardous Substances

Pursuant to a legal settlement agreement with environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started to map out a brand new rule that will expand the existing Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program beyond oil to address other hazardous substances.  This rulemaking, which must be finalized by late 2019 under the terms of the consent decree, may impact construction sites and related operations that store any of the hundreds of “hazardous substances” identified in 40 CFR Part 116.4.  Some companies may need to develop SPCC plans for the first time.  EPA has invited AGC to provide early input at upcoming public stakeholder sessions, which include two virtual meetings this fall.

EPA is setting up a Web page for this “Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention Rule.”  Currently the agency has posted online: (1) the first semi-annual update on progress on the proposed rule – click here; and (2) a notice about the upcoming public stakeholder input sessions

Industry input at this early stage in the rule development process will help guide the scope and content of EPA’s new Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention Program – including the specific hazardous substances, maximum storage capacity thresholds, and spill planning components that will be included in the proposal.    

Interested AGC members should consider providing construction-specific input (either directly to EPA during a stakeholder session, see Web link above, or to AGC staff, see contact email below):

  • Information on the “hazardous substances” listed in 40 CFR Part 116.4 that are stored on construction sites or at related operational facilities and how those substances vary in terms of toxicity and other hazard characteristics;
  • The size of the tanks/containers used to store “hazardous substances” on construction sites or at related operational facilities and the related spill containment procedures or plans currently in use;
  • Whether it would make sense to apply the current oil storage capacity thresholds and SPCC plan requirements to the “hazardous substances” that are used on construction sites;
  • The extent to which this new Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention Rule would overlap with Tier II “Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory” reports that the construction industry is currently filing annually under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA); and
  • The added costs associated with any of the above-referenced new requirements and the impact on small businesses.

To provide your comments and feedback to AGC of America, please email Leah Pilconis at

The EPA contact for this rulemaking is Stacey Yonce, Regulations Implementation Division, Office of Emergency Management,  See also the settlement detailed in a consent decree Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Case No. 1:15-cv-05705 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2016).

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