When considering impracticability arguments under SPCC rules, EPA focuses on space limitations and safety concerns that prevent secondary containment from being installed in specific areas. A second issue for engineers to consider is whether mobile refuelers can park in existing areas that already have secondary containment.
Finally, since EPA has emphasized the flexibility inherent in addressing secondary containment, engineers should ensure that SPCC plans address containment for refuelers in some fashion. As Matthiessen states in a recent interview, "You have to do something, and you have more flexibility than you think."
Planning in the Future
EPA has extended the compliance dates for compliance with the final SPCC regulations, issued in 2002, until February 17, 2006 to amend an existing SPCC plan, and until August 18, 2006 to implement the plan. However, because the agency's position is that secondary containment requirements have been in place for mobile refuelers since 1974, there is no extension for compliance with the secondary containment requirements for refuelers. Matthiessen indicates that EPA regions will not delay enforcement actions until the comprehensive regional guidance mentioned in his letter is issued in August 2005. Therefore, facilities should immediately examine their refueler parking situation.
They need to ensure that parked refuelers, which are "not engaged in, or traveling to, or returning from fueling activities," are parked in areas of secondary containment. Engineers and consulting firms need to develop creative and low-cost methods for the design and installation of secondary containment in these areas. These could consist of paneling systems, curbing, or temporary booms that can withstand heavy truck traffic and operator error.
While the ultimate solution to general secondary containment issues at airports may be to plumb the airport's entire stormwater collection system to a retention basin specifically designed to contain releases of oil (a solution that is already in place at some large airports), the implementation of such a solution is clearly beyond the means of most FBOs and fuelers. In the interim, SPCC plans will likely use a combination of measures to arrive at flexible site-specific solutions, including the installation of temporary or permanent containment around truck parking areas where it is practicable, or revisions to address impracticability where it is not. These include:
- Relying on measures such as staging spill response materials in areas where trucks are parked, storm drain covers, increased inspections, and additional training to alleviate or contain a release,
- Development of a 40 CFR 109 "strong oil spill response plan", demonstration of a formal relationship with an Oil Spill Response Organization (OSRO), and additional spill response training to provide strong oil spill response, and;
- A written pledge in the SPCC plan to work in good faith with the airport authority and other interested parties toward a permanent solution.
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