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Facility Response Plan (FRP) Applicability

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). Facilities that could cause "significant and substantial harm" are required to have their plans approved by an EPA Regional Administrator (RA).

Facilities may be identified as posing substantial harm either through a self-identification process, or by the determination of an RA.

Substantial Harm

A facility may pose "substantial harm" according to the FRP rule if it:

  1. has a total oil storage capacity greater than or equal to 42,000 gallons and it transfers oil over water to/from vessels; or
  2. has a total oil storage capacity greater than or equal to 1 million gallons and meets one of the following conditions:

a. does not have sufficient secondary containment for each aboveground storage area.

b. is located at a distance such that a discharge from the facility could cause "injury" to fish, wildlife, and sensitive environments.

c. is located at a distance such that a discharge from the facility would shut down a public drinking water intake.

d. has had, within the past five years, a reportable discharge greater than or equal to 10,000 gallons.

If the facility does not meet the criteria (either under 1 or 2), then the facility is not subject to the FRP rule via self-identification.

The criteria presented here represents the self-identification criteria to be used by the facility owner/operator to determine if the facility is subject to the FRP rule.  If the facility meets the criteria, an FRP is required to be prepared and submitted to the appropriate EPA Regional Office. For more information on self-selection, please see: Section 112.20 of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation and Attachment C-II Certification of the Applicability of the Substantial Harm Criteria.

Once the certification form and FRP are submitted to the region, the RA will review and determine if the facility should be classified as a significant and substantial harm facility. If the RA determines that the facility could cause significant and substantial harm, the FRP requires approval by the RA.

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Significant and Substantial Harm

An RA determines if a facility could, because of its location, cause significant and substantial harm to the environment by discharging oil into or on the navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. This is determined by factors similar to the substantial harm criteria, as well as:

  • the age of tanks;
  • type of transfer operations;
  • oil storage capacity;
  • lack of secondary containment;
  • proximity to fish, wildlife, and sensitive environments or drinking-water intakes;
  • spill history and frequency of past discharges; or
  • other information, including local impacts on public health.

Facilities that pose significant and substantial harm must have their plans reviewed and approved by EPA.

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