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What is an oil spill contingency plan?

Instead of providing secondary containment for qualified oil-filled operational equipment, an owner or operator may prepare an oil spill contingency plan and a written commitment of manpower, equipment, and materials to quickly control and remove discharged oil.  He/she must also have an inspection or monitoring program for the equipment to detect a failure and/or discharge.  What is an oil spill contingency plan?

An oil spill contingency plan is a detailed oil spill response and removal plan that addresses controlling, containing, and recovering an oil discharge in quantities that may be harmful to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines.

The elements of the oil spill contingency plan are outlined in 40 CFR 109.5, and include:

• Definition of the authorities, responsibilities, and duties of all entities involved in oil removal operations;
• Procedures for early detection and timely notification of an oil discharge;
• Assurance that full resource capability is known and can be committed following a discharge;
• Actions for after discovery and notification of a discharge;
• Procedures to facilitate recovery of damages and enforcement measures.

A contingency plan may be a stand-alone plan or included in an SPCC Plan.