ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing back the deadline for dairy farms’ compliance with Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations that may affect bulk milk tanks.
In a letter to National Milk Producers Federation dated June 9, the EPA committed to finalizing the SPCC exemption for bulk milk storage “as expeditiously as possible …to have that process completed by early 2011.”
In addition, EPA will be extending the compliance deadline for dairy producers until that time.
The goal of the SPCC program is to prevent oil spills into waters of the United States and adjoining shorelines.
What’s going on?
Last month, the federation requested EPA to take such actions to provide certainty in the SPCC regulations so that dairy producers could appropriately make decisions on their need for regulatory compliance.
EPA first proposed to exempt milk containers and associated piping and equipment constructed according to current applicable 3-A Sanitary Standards and subject to the current, applicable Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), or an equivalent state dairy regulatory requirement, from the SPCC regulations on Jan. 15, 2009.
A key element of the program calls for farmers and other facilities to have an oil spill prevention plan, called an SPCC plan. The plans are required for farms that have an aggregate storage capacity of oil products of 1,320 gallons, or more, for every storage container larger than 55 gallons.
This storage does not include vehicle storage capacity, but it does potentially include bulk milk tanks, as the butterfat in milk is regarded under the law as a form of oil.
A farm with less than 10,000 gallons of total storage capacity and no single storage greater than 5,000 gallons can self-certify their SPCC plan.
Farms that do not meet this exemption must have a plan certified by a professional engineer.
The federation’s concern is that this regulation could require a significant number of farms to require outside certification of their facilities.
“Milk should not fit in the same category as oil and fuels,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.
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