EPA Requires Facility Response Plans At Many Sites

Facility Response Plan Protects Against Oil Discharge To The Environment

A Facility Response Plan (FRP) must be prepared in accordance with 40 CFR 112.20.  If the facility has the potential to cause “substantial harm” to the environment or exclusive economic zone, a plan is required.  The plan must:

  • contain an emergency response action plan (ERAP) and
  • demonstrate that a facility has the resources to respond to a worst case scenario discharge.

2 Ways EPA Identifies Facilities Causing Substantial Harm

  1. Through a self-selection process examining
  • Type of transfer operations
  • Oil storage capacity
  • Lack of secondary containment
  • Proximity to fish, wildlife, and sensitive environments or drinking-water intakes
  • Spill history
  1. By a determination of the EPA Regional Administrator.

SPCC Plans must state whether a facility response plan (FRP) is required.

This is completed by filling out a Certification of The Applicability of the Substantial Harm Criteria and keeping it at the specific facility. If you do not need an FRP, simply maintain this Certification at the facility. If you are required to provide an FRP, it must be filed with the Regional EPA.

What Is Considered The Potential To Cause Substantial Harm?

Substantial harm is determined by the amount of storage, type of activities, location and spill history of the facility. If any of the following applies to a facility, then they would be considered to pose substantial harm to the environment.

  • A facility with a maximum oil storage capacity greater than or equal to 42,000 gallons and operations include over-water transfers of oil to or from vessels;
  • A facility with a maximum oil storage capacity greater than or equal to one million gallons;
  • A facility without secondary containment for each above ground storage tank large enough to contain the capacity of the largest above ground storage tank within that storage area;
  • A facility located at a distance such that a discharge from the facility could cause injury to fish, wildlife or the environment;
  • A facility located at a distance such that a discharge from the facility would shut down a drinking water intake;
  • A facility that has experienced a reportable spill in the past five years that was greater than or equal to 10,000 gallons.

The U.S. EPA Regional Administrator has discretion to require an FRP from any facility.


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16 Critical Components Of Facility Response Plans (FRPs)

  1. Consistency with the National Contingency Plan and applicable Area Contingency Plans
  2. Identifies a qualified individual having full authority to implement removal actions, and require immediate communication between that person and the appropriate federal authorities and responders
  3. Identifies and ensure availability of resources to remove, to the maximum extent practicable, a worst-case discharge
  4. Describes training, testing, unannounced drills, and response actions of persons on the vessel or at the facility
  5. Updated periodically and resubmitted for approval for each significant change to the facility.
  6. Contains an emergency Response Action Plan, which serves as both a planning and action document and should be maintained as an easily accessible, stand-alone section of the overall plan.
  7. Contains basic facility information, including its name, type, location, owner, operator information
  8. Lists emergency contacts, equipment, personnel, and evacuation information
  9. Identifies and analyzes potential spill hazards and previous spills
  10. Discusses small, medium, and worst-case discharge scenarios and response actions
  11. Describes discharge detection procedures and equipment
  12. Details implementation plan for response, containment, and disposal
  13. Describes and records of self-inspections, drills and exercises, and response training
  14. Diagrams of facility site plan, drainage, and evacuation plan
  15. Lists security (e.g., fences, lighting, alarms, guards, emergency cut-off valves and locks, etc.)
  16. Contains response plan coversheet

Material Changes Require The Plan Resubmission & Approval

Resubmission must occur within 60 days to be resubmitted for approval.

Each time there is a material change at an FRP facility, the facility must resubmit their plan for approval within 60 days. A material change is one that could affect the adequacy of the facility’s response capabilities, such as the ability to respond to a worst-case discharge.  In these cases, only those portions that were revised to reflect the material change and not the entire response plan. The Regional Administrator will review the submitted information for approval and notify owners/operators within a reasonable amount of time if the plan amendments are acceptable.

4 common examples of material changes:

  1. Any alteration dramatically affecting the ability to respond to a worst case discharge;
  2. A significant change in facility capacity, configuration or type of oil handled;
  3. A change in the capacity or availability of response contractors; or
  4. A change in spill prevention equipment or response procedures that may affect the potential for a discharge to cause significant and substantial harm to the environment.

FRP Must Be Consistent With Area Contingency Spill Plans

An owner/operator may have to resubmit the plan based on the information in the ACP (e.g., identification of sensitive environments in the Region). Revisions of names or phone numbers in the emergency notification list must be submitted to the Regional Administrator, but do not require approval.

Questions About FRP & Spill Plans

We are available to answer all questions and help you with compliance. Contact one of our spill plan specialists today.