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US Environmental Protection Agency Facility Response Plan

Tim Laughlin, P.E.

Course Outline

Under the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), certain facilities that store and use oil are required to prepare and submit Facility Response Plans (FRPs) as part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation (OPP).  The Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, was promulgated on December 11, 1973, under the authority of §311(j) (1) (C) of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Oil Pollution Prevention regulation has separate Facility Response Plan (FRP) requirements/regulations became effective August 30, 1994.  The FRP program is designed to ensure that certain facilities have adequate oil spill response capabilities for “worst case discharges” for a certain subset of facilities that store/use oils.  The FRP is designed to complement the Facilities SPCC Plan.

The OPP also established procedures, methods, and equipment requirements for non-transportation-related facilities (see table below) with aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons in a single tank or 1,320 gallons total aggregate capacity. The regulation also applies to underground aggregate storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons not in compliance with Federal or State underground storage tank regulations under the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure program (SPCC).  The US EPA proposed revisions to the SPCC rule in 1991, 1993, and 1997.  These revisions will become effective on November 10, 2010. (TENTATIVE)

Facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause "substantial harm" to the environment by discharging oil into or on navigable waters are required to prepare and submit Facility Response Plans (FRPs).

The Oil Pollution Prevention regulation includes two methods by which a facility may be identified as posing substantial harm:

The EPA Regional Administrator may consider factors similar to the self-selection criteria, as well as other factors, including:

In addition, the EPA Regional Administrator may determine that a facility poses significant and substantial harm.

Facility Response Plans (FRPs) must:

Key elements include:

The regulation requires that all regulated facilities have develop a FRP before the new facility begins operations or within six months of the effective date for existing facilities.  No Professional Engineering (PE) certification is required for an US EPA FRP, even when an impracticability determination is made pursuant to §112.7(d) under the SPCC regs.  However, owners should consider the services of a PE or ensure that State Law does not consider FRP planning and preparation an “engineering function”. 

You should also refer to the US EPA's Oil Spill Web Site at:

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for petroleum, chemical, civil, environmental and mechanical engineers.

Benefit to Attendees

Attendee of this course will be able to provide, execute, and fully understand the requirements for a US EPA Facility Response Plan under US EPA 40 CFR parts 112.20 & 112.21 regulations.

Course Content

In this lesson, you are required to download and study the following course content in PDF format:

US Environmental Protection Agency Facility Response Plan

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

This course discusses the regulations and processes in place to prevent oil spills in accordance with ATTACHMENT C-II CERTIFICATION OF SUBSTANTIAL HARM DETERMINATION FORM.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.