Get set to upgrade your stored fuel, oil, crop oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant and other farm tanks by May 10, when new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rules snap into action.
The regulations are aimed at preventing oil spills that can contaminate land and water, explains Sandra Frost, University of Wyoming Extension educator. "Many farmers and ranchers will find it simple to comply," she believes. But some with large tanks will have to hire a certified engineer to build beams or dikes to contain potential spills.
Producers who store 1,320 gallons or more in above-ground tanks, or 42,000 gallons or more in buried tanks on one parcel of land are subject to the new regulations.
The May deadline, extended from November, 2011, gave farmers a longer time to meet the terms of the new regulations mandated by EPA. Objections from many farmers in the Midwest led to the extension because of flooding on land damaging property.
While EPA rules on spill prevention have been around for a long time, this latest round of updates expands the rules to storage not formerly included in the regulations.
While some farms may already have in place facilities that comply with the new regulations, many changes are anticipated for producers through the nation in how they handle their spill control programs.
One of the more substantive changes in the regulations concerns the definition of a waterway.
While the wording earlier concerned "navigable waterways," the new definition is simply "water source," covering storage facilities which may not be near navigable areas.
EPA has been active in fuel storage and containment for many years. In 2010, issued new tank requirements that affected many farmers, requiring them to create their own spill management programs. That followed the Clean Water Act passed in the '70s which also contained an Oil Pollution Prevention Rule.