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New USCG Regs for Facility Response Plans - Effective Feb. 22, 2011

Posted on Tue, Aug 17, 2010

The U.S. Coast Guard’s new regulations to improve pollution-response preparedness for facilities carrying or handling oil upon the navigable waters of the United States goes into effect February 22, 2011.

This final rule, applicable for shorelines adjoining navigable waters of the U.S. including the exclusive economic zone, updates Coast Guard requirements for oil-spill removal equipment associated with facility response plans and marine transportation-related facility response plans. These regulatory updates add requirements for plan holders to use new response technologies and revise methods and procedures for oil spill response. 

The rule applies to pre-approved areas only, not areas designated for quick approval of dispersant use. If you have an existing approved facility response plan, you must have your plan updated and submitted to the Coast Guard by February 22, 2011.

The new regulations will affect facility response plans, vessel response plans, and dock operations manuals. The new rules directly regulate marine transportation related (MTR) oil facilities that are required to have an oil response plan under the current Facility Response Plan rules.

The new regulations include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Plan holders to offset their mechanical recovery equipment inventory by as much as 25% in exchange for including dispersants in the response plans.
  • Pre-authorization agreements indicate that dispersant use may be appropriate and will be approved for use in a spill incident meeting certain predetermined criteria that may occur in the covered area. The regulations will ensure that the dispersant equipment and materials are available, and that the cost of maintaining those resources is shared equitably among all potential private sector users.
  • Regulations were modified to clarify that plan holders should plan to have aerial tracking capabilities available to support response operations for entire daily operational periods. As operations are not routinely conducted during darkness, these operational periods will be less than 10 hours per day when there is less than 10 hours of daylight, and longer than 10 hours when there is more than 10 hours of daylight. The 10-hour operational period is offered as a planning target. An individual plan holder may choose to plan more precisely, based on actual length of daylight operational periods. Vessels/facilities operating on inland rivers aren’t required to maintain aerial tracking capabilities. Vessels operating on open waters of the Great Lakes will be required to maintain these capabilities.

Some of the new regulations for Facilities transferring Oil or Hazardous Material in Bulk are as follows:

  • Hose assemblies may also have Flanges that meet ANSI B16.5 or B16.24 (both incorporated by reference; see §154.106
  • Each mechanical loading arm used for transferring oil or hazardous material and placed into service after June 30, 1973, must meet the design, fabrication, material, inspection, and testing requirements in ANSI B31.3.
  • All welding or hot work conducted on or at the facility is the responsibility of the facility operator. The COTP may require that the operator of the facility notify the COTP before any welding or hot work operations are conducted. Any welding or hot work operations conducted on or at the facility must be conducted in accordance with NFPA 51B. The facility operator shall ensure that the additional conditions or criteria are met.
  • Barring exceptions, Tank cleaning or gas freeing operations conducted by the facility on vessels carrying oil residues or mixtures shall be conducted in accordance with sections 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, and 9.5 of the OCIMF International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)
  • Vapor collection system piping and fittings must be in accordance with ANSI B31.3 and designed for a maximum allowable working pressure of at least 150 psig. Valves and flanges must be in accordance with ANSI B16.5 or B16.24, 150-pound class.
  • Flanges must have a bolt hole arrangement complying with the requirements for 150 pound class ANSI B16.5
  • The additional vessel liquid overfill protection requirements must be met: ANSI/NEMA WD6 and NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, Articles 410–57 and 501–12.
  • Overfill control panel on the dock capable of powering and receiving an alarm and shutdown signal from the cargo tank level sensor system must have Has a female connecting plug for the tank barge level sensor system with a 5 wire, 16 amp connector body meeting IEC 309–1/309–2.
  • The vessel vapor overpressure and vacuum protection be tested for relieving capacity in accordance with paragraph of API 2000 with a flame screen fitted.
  • The inerting, enriching, and diluting systems be installed in accordance with API Recommended Practice 550
  • Take special note to § 154.1035: Specific requirements for facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause significant and substantial harm to the environment
  • Take note of § 154.1045: Response plan development and evaluation criteria for facilities that handle, store, or transport Group I through Group IV petroleum oils.
  • A new or existing facility owner or operator must submit the required dispersant and aerial oil tracking resource revisions to a previously submitted or approved plan, made pursuant to §§154.1035(b)(3) or 154.1045, to the COTP and all other holders of the response plan for information or approval no later than February 22, 2011.
  • Under Appendix C to Part 154: The guidelines for determining daily application capacities for dispersant response systems, evaluating the high-rate required response methods, and calculating cumulative dispersant application capacity has been updated.
  • In addition to the equipment and supplies required, a facility owner or operator must identify a source of support to conduct the monitoring and post-use effectiveness evaluation required by applicable regional plans and Area Contingency Plans.
  • Identification of the resources for dispersant application does not imply that the use of this technique will be authorized. Actual authorization for use during a spill response will be governed by the provisions of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan (40 CFR part 300) and the applicable Local or Area Contingency Plan.

For a full list of regulations, see

The Coast Guard is also revising the compliance date for updates to vessel response plans required by the Salvage and Marine Firefighting final rule published Dec. 31, 2008 (73 FR 80618).  This new compliance date of Feb. 22, 2011, ensures plan holders will not be required to update their Vessel Response Plan’s twice within a 12-month period. 

For more tips and best practices on conducting an effective oil spill, download our Free Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: USCG, Emergency Preparedness, Deadline Approaching