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EPA leaves sound regulations underpinning SPCC plans alone

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

After more than three years of soliciting expert advice and public comment on issuing a proposed rulemaking potentially expanding the petroleum product spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) terms typical of concrete plant environmental permits, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final action establishing no new regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA). 

“EPA’s analysis concluded that current requirements for hazardous substance discharge prevention are protective of human health and the environment and, therefore, additional requirements are unnecessary,” he said. “Protection of our nation’s waterways is a top priority, and we will continue to use our many programs and tools to protect and respond to threats in our waterways.”

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Compliance & Regulatory staff has closely tracked the rulemaking, and apprised officials of the suitability of existing EPA, U.S. Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations addressing material exposure and spills. EPA proposals dating to 2015 had the potential to extend SPCC plans from petroleum products to other materials deemed “hazardous,” including admixtures and coloring agents. In that case, concrete producers would likely have been required to maintain a library of SPCC plans, adding to their plant permit compliance costs.

Administrator Wheeler’s final action complies with a February 2016 consent decree addressing CWA section 311(j)(1)(C) and stemming from a Natural Resources Defense Council-led lawsuit seeking a federal court order for EPA to evaluate hazardous substance discharge measures through the rulemaking protocol. That suit was filed concurrent with SPCC rule expansion proposals by EPA staff under the Obama administration.

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