Chapter 56


Approved by Robert Fox
Revised 04/13


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56.1 Policy

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan prevents petroleum and vegetable oil products from being released to the storm drains and nearby creeks by:

56.2 Scope

All aboveground storage tanks, drums, and oil-filled electrical equipment storing petroleum products or vegetable oil, 55 gallons or greater, are subject to federal and state spill prevention and spill control regulations.

56.3 Applicability

All Berkeley Lab employees, visitors, affiliates, and subcontractors involved in the storage of petroleum products and vegetable oils, 55 gallons or greater, including temporary use of portable aboveground storage tanks.

56.4 Exceptions

56.5 Roles and Responsibilities



Principal Investigators and Supervisors

  • Ensure that environmental laws, regulations, and policies are followed
  • Request assistance from the Environmental Services Group for technical advice on what spill prevention and spill control requirements apply to their operations and what would be an appropriate compliance strategy
  • Provide training for employees in operational requirements pertaining to spill prevention and spill control, and maintain records of such training (EHS0680, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Training)
  • Ensure that activities are performed within acceptable operating standards and that any required records are current (training, AST inspections, rainwater disposal inspections)
  • Notify the EHSS Division immediately of any unplanned accidental releases
  • Prepare budget requests for and manage spill prevention upgrades and corrective actions for division projects


  • Follow applicable environmental laws, regulations, and policies
  • Be fully aware of the environmental impact of their activities, and comply with all requirements that govern those activities
  • Perform activities within acceptable operating standards and maintain current records whenever required.
  • Take immediate action to stop unplanned releases to the environment and report all instances of unplanned environmental releases to the EHSS Division
  • Complete all required training provided by supervisors and the EHSS Division, including annual completion of EHS0680, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Training

Environmental Services Group

  • Develops Laboratory policies and procedures to ensure that operations are conducted in an environmentally safe manner and in full compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations
  • Assesses current and planned Berkeley Lab programs and assists in defining spill prevention and spill control compliance upgrades and corrective actions
  • Provides training, makes presentations, and participates in discussions regarding petroleum storage, spill prevention, and spill control matters with Berkeley Lab employees and regulatory agencies
  • Manages the recertification of the SPCC Plan every five years and SPCC Plan amendments prepared by a certified professional engineer
  • Curtails or suspends any operations that pose an immediatedanger to members of the public or the environment
  • Investigates reports of unplanned environmental releases and notifies federal, state, and local authorities in a timely manner, asrequired
  • Coordinates and represents Berkeley Lab activities during environmental audits and inspections by regulatory agencies

56.6 Definitions




Aboveground storage tanks

City of Berkeley

A local agency responsible for enforcing applicable state aboveground storage tank regulation

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

The department within the California Environmental Protection Agency that regulates hazardous waste management and remedial actions


Any treated or untreated liquid discharge from Berkeley Lab or from a Laboratory facility

Environmental occurrence

Any sudden or sustained deviation from a regulated or planned performance at an operation that has environmental protection and compliance significance

Hazardous wastes

Wastes exhibiting any of the following characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity. In addition, EPA has listed specific wastes as hazardous that do not necessarily exhibit these characteristics. Note that oil is a hazardous waste per California regulations.

Pollution prevention

Reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream

Spill prevention

The reduction in risk of a petroleum spill from reaching storm drains and creeks by installing secondary containment, monitoring systems, spill kits, and other engineering controls

State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

The agency responsible for promulgating the California General Permit for Storm Water Discharge Associated With Industrial Activities. At Berkeley Lab, this permit is administered and enforced by the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, with assistance from the City of Berkeley.

Secondary containment

Containment designed to hold the contents of the largest single tank or drum plus sufficient freeboard to allow for precipitation (4.78” freeboard)

Underground storage tank (UST)

A stationary device designed to contain an accumulation of hazardous material or waste. A tank is constructed primarily of non-earthen material, and 90 percent of the tank and its associated piping is totally below the surface of the ground.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

A federal agency responsible for enforcing environmental laws. In California, some of this responsibility is delegated to the City of Berkeley.

Waste minimization

U.S. EPA measures that reduce the volume and toxicity of hazardous waste disposed to landfills. California defines waste minimization as measures that reduce, eliminate, or recycle hazardous waste at the point in a process where such waste may be generated.

56.7 Required Work Processes

Work Process A. General Requirements

  1. Compliance. Petroleum product and vegetable oil storage requirements are prescribed by federal regulations, which are driven by the Clean Water Act;  petroleum storage requirements are also prescribed by state regulations, which are driven by the Aboveground Storage Tank Act.
  2. Requirements
    1. Petroleum products and vegetable oils stored in drums or tanks 55 gallons or greater are governed by these principal requirements:
      1. The petroleum product or vegetable oil must be stored in tanks or containers of approved design and construction.
      2. The tanks or drums must have approved secondary containment capable of holding the entire contents of the largest single tank plus sufficient freeboard to allow for precipitation. (Berkeley Lab uses a 25-year, 24-hour storm event of 4.78 inches as sufficient freeboard.)
    2. The Berkeley Lab FacilitiesDivision has a formal rainwater disposal procedure for inspecting and testing accumulated rainwater at outside transformer pads prior to discharge.
    3. The storage facility must be covered by routine maintenance and monthly AST inspection programs.
    4. Users of bulk storage facilities must receive annual training.
    5. The details of the petroleum storage requirements are described in the Berkeley Lab Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan (main site and the Joint Genome Institute), which is available on the EHSS Environmental Services Group Web site.

56.8 Source Requirements

56.9 Reference Documents

Document number




Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)



Joint Genome Institute Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)



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