Saturday, August 17, 2013

Preventing Spills

Another one of the many regulations that affect farmers these days is the SPCC or Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure. While it went into effect several years ago most farmers were ignoring this regulation because the EPA was looking at other industries and not ag. Not anymore.

This regulation states that if you have storage capacity of more than 1320 gallons of fuel and oil on your farm you need to have a spill plan in place and some type of control facility. There are many acceptable ideas and you can self-certify your operation, but like all federal rules and regulations, it takes an engineer and an attorney to understand the rules.

There is a chance Congress may change the rules of the SPCC to exempt farmers, but we decided to go ahead and meet the current rules. One reason is that we are close to groundwater and a creek is less than 100 yards away. This spring we hired an engineering firm to develop a plan and design a control structure for our farm. Most of the plan is "boilerplate" and is identical to many other plans. but it fulfills the rules of the feds.

We decided to build a steel tank with a poly liner to contain our fuel storage tanks. It was easier to install than we thought it would be, the worst was figuring out what went where.

Our plan called for a 12" containment depth, but the side sheets were 33" tall, so we dug a trench with our backhoe to lower them.
We were really dreading installing the liner, but it was remarkably easy. They sent plenty extra and we were able to keep the roll fairly square while unrolling it. 

We trenched the electric line from the old site to the new site. Helps having an electrician live next door.

This is our finished site. We will repaint the 2 older tanks white again. The white paint helps reduce vaporization of the fuel we store.