Oil Spill Prevention Program

Federal requirements can be found here.


The purpose of the Oil Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program is to prevent oil spills from occurring, and to perform safe, efficient and timely response in the event of a spill or leak (both referred to as “spills” herein).  In accordance with United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oil pollution prevention regulations (40 CFR 112), a facility must prepare and implement an SPCC plan if the facility could reasonably be expected to discharge oil into or upon navigable waters or adjoining shorelines; and, meets of the following conditions: 

  • Above-ground oil storage capacity exceeds 1,320 gallons; or
  • Underground oil storage capacity exceeds 42,000 gallons, unless the underground tanks are subject to all of the technical requirements of 40 CFR 280 or a state program approved under 40 CFR 281.  Maine’s approved program is Department of Environmental Protection, Chapter 691 – Rules of Underground Storage Facilities. 

As defined by 40 CFR 112, oil includes all grades of motor oil, hydraulic oil, lube oil, fuel oil, RFO (renewable fuel oil), biodiesel, gasoline and diesel, automatic transmission fluid, waste oil, and transformer mineral oil.  The definition of oil also includes  non-petroleum oils such as animal, vegetable, or synthetic oils.  The safety data sheets (SDSs) for the oil used at Bates are included in Appendix I.  

The SPCC plan is a working document and should be used in the following ways:

  • As a reference for oil storage and containment system information,
  • As a tool for informing new employees and refreshing existing employees on practices for preventing and responding to spills,
  • As a guide to periodic training programs for employees
  • As a guide to facility inspections, and
  • As a resource during an emergency response.

Bates College must revise the SPCC plan for any changes in the facility design, construction, operation or maintenance that affects the facility’s potential for discharging oil. Revisions must occur as soon as possible, but no later than six months after the change occurs. The Director of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for initiating and coordinating such revisions.

Waterways and Site Drainage

The Bates Campus is located on a relatively flat area, providing a high probability for potential spills to stay on the pavement or concrete or absorb into the soils and minimize the potential of overland flow of spilled oil.

Drainage around the campus flows primarily to municipal storm drains which discharge to drainage ways and nearby waterways. The nearest body of water is Lake Andrews, located on the Bates Campus, and the Androscoggin River located approximately 2,500 feet northwest of campus. In the even of a major and sudden spill, it is possible that oil could follow the general surface contours of the facility into Jebson Brook, which flows into the Androscoggin River and ultimately into Merrymeeting Bay. The potential for overland flow would increase during periods of wet weather. Facility personnel should be aware that spills leaving the site can impact the environment and the nearby water resources.

Potential Spill Sources

Bates College has aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), 55-gallon drums, and oil-filled operational equipment including elevator machines and electrical transformers. Most of the smaller ASTs store #2 fuel oil used for heating purposes. There are also four 8,000-gallon tanks storing #2 fuel oil in the steam plant, a 20,000-gallon tank storing renewable fuel oil (RFO), and a 2,000-gallon tank with gasoline.

The elevator machines have hydraulic oil storage tanks and the electrical transformers store non-PCB mineral oil.

No underground storage tanks are present on the Bates Campus.

The smaller fuel oil tanks are located in campus buildings for backup heating or in Bates owned houses or apartment buildings. These tanks are primarily 275-gallon or 300-gallon single-walled steel tanks with a concrete containment dike for secondary containment. A few of the smaller tanks are 300-gallon Roth double-walled tanks. Residential heating oil tanks for “single-family” houses are exempt from the SPCC Rule under 112.1(d)(9), while houses and halls with multiple residents are not exempt under the rule.

Emergency Generators are used to provide backup power in the event of an emergency or power outage. Three of the generators are equipped with a double-walled sub-base storage tank and the other two have stand alone diesel storage tanks, one with a concrete block containment dike for secondary containment and one located in the Cutten steam plant over the 65,000 gallon containment vault. The steam plant generator fuel system also includes a 25-gallon tank for immediate use, which has a secondary containment basin and is located indoors.

The gasoline tank is a double-walled 2,000-gallon tank with a fueling pump. The tank is located on the northwest side of Cutten Maintenance Center on a concrete pad in the parking lot. The tank is equipped with a fuel gauge and vent whistle for overfill protection, interstitial monitoring for leak detection, a hose retractor, bollards, and a Class ABC 20 lb. dry chemical type fire extinguisher for added safety and security.

Elevators on campus contain hydraulic oil used for operation. Each tank is located indoors in the elevator machine room on a concrete floor. The tanks are filled manually and overfill protection is achieved by visual observation.

Transformers on campus are self-contained locked enclosures, storing varying amounts of transformer oil. Each transformer is mounted on a concrete pad for added stability and protection. Most transformers located near walkways, roadways, or parking lots are surrounded with bollards for impact protection from vehicles or maintenance equipment.

Drums used to store oil from maintenance activities are stored on containment pallets and kept covered when not in use for safety and security measures.

Spill Prevention

Bates employees are trained to implement spill prevention practices for work with and around oil sources, and should use common sense and rely on the following spill prevention practices at all times to minimize the potential release of oil. The following guidelines should be utilized at all times:

  • Keep tank surroundings clear to allow for easy access;
  • Keep container lids securely fastened at all times;
  • Do not leave portable sources unattended (outside);
  • Return portable containers to secure storage location after use;
  • Use pads, drip pans, and funnels when transferring petroleum products from a portable container;
  • Protect oil sources from damage by moving equipment; and
  • Observe all loading and unloading of petroleum products at all times

Vehicle fueling operations will be performed by designated college personnel, and the college will ensure operating instructions are posted. The designated college personnel will:

  • Inspect the storage and delivery system, hoses, connections and the receiving vessel before beginning operations;
  • Monitor the transfer operation, and will take immediate action to correct any deficiencies;
  • Check that the vehicle has been disconnected before departure; and
  • Secure the hose and nozzle after use.

Emergency Response

The uncontrolled discharge of oil to groundwater, surface water, or soil is prohibited by State and Federal laws. The spilling or other discharge of oil to the environment in any amount is a violation of Maine law. It is imperative that action be taken to respond to a spill once it has occurred. If a spill is reported to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) within two hours, promptly cleaned up and the contaminated material properly disposed of, the College will not be fined for the violation.

To report an oil spill, call the DEP’s 24-hour emergency spill hotline. During regular business hours, the call will go to DEP. During nights, weekends and holidays, the call will be routed through the Maine State Police dispatcher who will forward the call to on-call staff. It is encouraged to report a spill if there is any question. The Maine DEP Oil Response Team can help clean up the spill to your property and the Maine environment.

Depending on the volume and characteristics of the material released, DEP has defined spill response as either a “Minor Spill Response” or “Major Spill Response”.

Minor Spill Response

A “Minor Spill Response” is defined as one that poses no significant harm to human health or the environment. These spills involve very small amounts of oil that are contained an can be cleaned up by facility personnel. Other characteristics include:

  • The spilled material is easily stopped or controlled at the time of the spill;
  • The spill is localized;
  • The spilled material is not likely to reach surface water or groundwater;
  • There is little danger to human health; and
  • There is little danger of fire or an explosion

In the event of a minor spill:

  • Stop the source if the spill is ongoing;
  • Immediately notify the senior on-site person (i.e. Bates EHS Director)
  • The EHS Director will notify DEP within two hours;
  • Under the direction of a senior on-site person, contain the spill with spill response materials and equipment;
  • Place spill debris in properly labeled waste containers;
  • Complete the Spill Notification Form and submit to the Bates EHS Director.

Major Spill Response (Spill Emergency)

A “Spill Emergency” is defined as a spill that cannot be safely controlled or cleaned up. Characteristics include the following:

  • The spill is large enough to spread beyond the immediate spill area;
  • The spilled material enters surface water or groundwater (regardless of spill size);
  • The spill requires special training or equipment to clean-up;
  • The spilled material is dangerous to human health; and/or
  • There is a danger of fire or explosion.

In the event of a spill emergency, the following guidelines shall apply:

  • Stop the source if the spill is ongoing, and only if safe to do so;
  • Immediately evacuate the spill site and move to a safe distance away from the spill;
  • Call for medical assistance if workers are injured (no worker shall engage in rescue operations unless they have been properly trained and equipped);
  • Contact the Bates EHS Director and provide details regarding the spill;
  • Immediately notify DEP (800-482-0777) and the National Response Center (800-424-8802), then document the calls on the Spill Notification Form.
  • Notify the local authorities (911);
  • The Bates EHS Director will coordinate cleanup and seek assistance from the cleanup contractor as necessary.

Waste Disposal

Wastes resulting from a minor spill response will be containerized in impervious bags, drums, or buckets. The waste will be removed from the site by a licensed waste hauler within two weeks of the event.

Wastes resulting from a major spill response will be removed and disposed by a licensed cleanup contractor.

Spill Response Kits

Bates College has spill kits located in the following locations:

  • Cutten Maintenance Center Outdoor Sheds
  • Cutten Maintenance Center Renewable Fuel Oil Room
  • 215 College Street Garage
  • 220 College Street Shed


Bates College provides SPCC training and annual briefings for personnel involved with handling petroleum products. The EHS Director shall arrange annual training, which includes the following topics:

  • An introduction to pollution control laws;
  • Rules and regulations pertaining to the use and storage of petroleum products;
  • Inspection, operation, and maintenance of spill equipment, and petroleum storage and dispensing equipment;
  • Spill response and cleanup;
  • Spill notification and record keeping; and
  • Spill prevention practices.

Training shall be documented to include the instructor’s name, course outline, date and duration of training, attendant’s names and signatures, and corrective action list for areas in need of improvement, if any. This information is filed and maintained for a minimum of three years by the EHS Director.