• No tags were found...

There's No Such Thing as a Small Oil Spill - Water Tells

NGWA Washington Fly-in educates policymakers, page 12

April 2013






Do your customers

understand the

results?, page 17

Also inside:

— SPCC rules, page 21

— Ergonomic safety, page 28




Vol. 67, No. 4

April 2013



17 Well Inspection Contracts

By Gary Hix, RG, CWD/PI

Are you certifying results? Do your customers

understand the results?

21 There’s No Such Thing as a Small Oil Spill

By Lana Straub

Make sure your business is set when it comes

to SPCC rules.

25 Murphy’s Law

By Jennifer Strawn

Flexcon Industries engineer Lucas Murphy

designs and races off-road vehicles.


8 In This Issue

10 Industry Newsline

12 The Log

14 Web Notes

40 Coming Events

42 Featured Products

44 Newsmakers

45 Classified Marketplace

55 Index of Advertisers

56 Closing Time

NGWA Washington Fly-in educates policymakers, page 12


April 2013





Do your customers

understand the

results?, page 17

Also inside:

— SPCC rules, page 21

— Ergonomic safety, page 28


6 Editor’s Note

A Lesson in Customer Service

Page 17

About the cover

Straub Corp. works late into the evening on a project in far

West Texas. Straub Corp., a specialty groundwater services

firm, is located in Stanton, Texas. Photo submitted by

Raymond Straub Jr. of Straub Corp.

The Water Well Journal (ISSN #0043-1443) is published monthly by the National Ground Water Association, 601 Dempsey Rd., Westerville, OH 43081.

Printed and mailed at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and additional mailing offices. Postal acceptance: Periodical (requester subscription circulation) postage paid

at Westerville, Ohio, and at additional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send address changes to Water Well Journal, 601 Dempsey Rd., Westerville, OH 43081.

Canada Post/ Publications Mail Agreement #40739533. Return address: 4960-2 Walker Rd., Windsor, ON N9A 6J3.

Twitter @WaterWellJournl

Water Well Journal April 2013 3/


The Water Well Journal’s April issue focuses on rules

and regulations that affect the groundwater industry.

It’s critical that you know all of the rules that affect

how you do business every day. With that in mind, WWJ dedicates

an issue to the subject with feature articles, columns, and

news items about the rules and regulations that impact those

working in the groundwater industry.

The first feature article is “Well Inspection Contracts” by

Gary Hix, RG, CWD/PI, on page 17. Hix says that as a water

well driller or pump installer you could be asked to inspect a

private water well system for a real estate transfer or refinancing

transaction. However, he adds that may not be as simple

as it sounds due to the language of the reports affiliated with

such inspections. Hix says it is critical that contractors

check the language and have an open

dialogue with the home buyer or refinancer so

they fully understand the limitations of your inspection,

the qualification of what it means for

the future of the well performance, and that the

water was sampled and tested for the specific

parameters requested and reported only.

Gary Hix, RG,


Freelance writer Lana Straub details the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures

Rule in her feature story “There’s No Such Thing

as a Small Oil Spill” on page 21. Straub says the rule states

some business owners must prepare for the worst type of spill

that could happen at their business by creating a plan and

implementing it, adding that the EPA estimates

more than 600,000 facilities nationwide should

be complying with the rule. She details the criteria

in which a company would need a plan,

how to set up a plan, and issues to look out for

to make sure your business stays in compliance

once a plan is in place.

The monthly installment of Safety Matters is

titled “Ergonomic Safety.” Columnist Gary Ganson, CIH,

CSP, points out in the column on page 28 that while there is

no Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulation

covering ergonomics, OSHA can still cite a company if

ergonomic hazards are identified, using best

practices developed by the National Institute

for Occupational Safety and Health and the

American National Standards Institute. Ganson

says company owners understanding the

science behind ergonomics and making sure

Lana Straub

Gary Ganson,


their employees recognize potential hazards at

the job site not only avoid potential citations,

but increase productivity and diminish financial

losses relative to medical costs and downtime on the job.

Ganson lays out what goes into an ergonomics program as

well as the training it takes to keep employees up to speed.

8/ April 2013 Water Well Journal

Circle card no. 32

Iremember hearing jokes back in

May 2010 when the BP oil spill was

happening in the Gulf of Mexico. It

was a spill of such magnitude that

none of us on the outside looking in

could wrap our heads around it. There

were jokes because people couldn’t deal

with the true devastation going on.

Funny thing is, no oil spill is a small

oil spill to the U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency, and none are a laughing

matter. The EPA created Spill Prevention,

Control, and Countermeasure

(SPCC) rules to prevent and deal with

events like the BP spill and the thousands

of others that occur each year on

land and on sea.

The current SPCCs have been formulated

and amended through the years to

reflect current needs of the time and

date back to the development of the

Clean Water Act more than 40 years

ago. According to the EPA’s Emergency

Lana Straub, with a background

in the legal and financial

aspects of small business, is

the office manager of Straub

Corp., Stanton, Texas, an environmental

and water well

drilling firm owned and operated by her family

for more than 50 years. She can be reached at

There’s No Such Thing

as a Small Oil Spill

Make sure your business is set when it comes to SPCC rules.

Twitter @WaterWellJournl

Most drilling businesses probably

need a plan, just from the nature

of the type of equipment they run

and the types of fuel and oils

stored on-site.

Management Web site, the Oil Pollution

Prevention regulation was created in

1973 through the authority set forth in

Section 311 of the Clean Water Act:

The oil pollution prevention regulation

sets forth requirements for

prevention of, preparedness for, and

response to oil discharges at specific

non-transportation-related facilities.

To prevent oil from reaching navigable

waters and adjoining shorelines,

and to contain discharges of oil, the

regulation requires these facilities to

develop and implement Spill Prevention,

Control, and Countermeasure

(SPCC) plans and establishes procedures,

methods, and equipment requirements

(Subparts A, B, and C). In

1990, the Oil Pollution Act amended

the Clean Water Act to require some

oil storage facilities to prepare facility

response plans.

The Clean Water Act was originally

developed in 1972 as a response to public

outcry against major water pollution

By Lana Straub

occurring throughout the United States

in the late 1960s. The Clean Water Act

has been amended several times in its

history and has helped establish water

as a forefront issue in environmental

regulatory circles.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was

born out of the need by Congress to respond

to the Exxon Valdez spill. The

book, Environmental Law, by William

Rodgers Jr. explains: “The Exxon

Valdez spill has been called the ‘Pearl

Harbor’ of the U.S. environmental improvement,

and there is no doubt that

the environmental carnage inflicted

there and the publicity associated with it

put the ‘crisis’ stamp on congressional

responses to the continuing problem of

oil spills” at that time.

According to the Emergency Management

section of the EPA, after the

Exxon Valdez accident, “the Oil Pollution

Act amended the Clean Water Act

to require some oil storage facilities

to prepare facility response plans.” It

amended even further when revisions

were made to subpart D in July 1994

that required owners and operators of

facilities to prepare for the worst type of

spill that could happen at their business

by creating a plan.

SPILLS/continues on page 22

Water Well Journal April 2013 21/

SPILLS/from page 21

The EPA sources estimate that more

than 600,000 facilities nationwide

should be complying with the SPCC

rule. But how do you know if you fall

into this category?

The EPA has set the following criteria

to determine if your business is subject

to compliance. All three of these

criteria must apply to your facility, including

your shop or your equipment

yard. If all three apply, then you must

comply with the SPCC rule.

1. A non-transportation-related facility

2. Has aggregate above ground oil storage

capacity of more than 1320 gallons

or completely buried capacity of

more than 42,000 gallons

3. Can be reasonably expected to discharge

into or upon navigable waters

of the United States or adjoining


The EPA has defined a non-transportation-related

facility to include

“industrial, commercial, agricultural, or

public facilities that use, store, drill for,

produce, gather, process, refine, or consume

oil or oil products.”

When calculating your oil storage,

the EPA reminds you to be sure to calculate

your capacity, not your current

usage. If you can store more than 1320

gallons above ground in various containers,

including “tanks, containers,

drums, transformers, oil-filled electrical

equipment, and mobile or portable

totes,” then the rule applies to you.

When thinking about your oil-filled

electrical equipment, be sure to include

your hydraulic systems, lubricating

systems, machine cooling systems, and

circuit breakers in your calculations.

If you are wondering what the EPA

means when they refer to “navigable

waters,” EPA Region 5 Superfund explains

navigable waters in this manner

on its Web site:

This determination is based upon a

consideration of the geographical and

locational aspects of the facility. The

location of the facility must be considered

in relation to streams, ponds,

and ditches (perennial or intermittent),

storm or sanitary sewers, wetlands,

mudflats, sand flats or farm tile

drains. The distance to navigable waters,

volume of material stored, worst

case weather conditions, drainage patterns,

land contours, soil conditions,

22/ April 2013 Water Well Journal

Tooling Up

Here are a few tools to help you familiarize

yourself with the SPCC rule and

ensure that your facility is compliant

should you ever have a spill or EPA

compliance come knocking at your


EPA Spill Prevention, Control,

and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule


U.S. EPA Tier I Qualified Facility

Plan Template


How to Prepare Your Own SPCC Plan:

Online Course for Tier I Qualified



SPCC Qualified Facilities Planning

Page from EPA


Region 5 EPA Superfund


Information on how to self-certify

your plan


etc., must also be taken into account.

Further, according to the regulation,

this determination shall not include

consideration of man-made features

such as dikes, equipment, or other

structures (like levees) that may serve

to restrain, hinder, contain, or prevent

an oil discharge.

There’s a good possibility that your

business may need an SPCC plan. My

research has told me most drilling businesses

probably need a plan, just from

the nature of the type of equipment they

run and the types of fuel and oils stored

on-site in the shop or equipment yard.

Once you have determined you need

an SPCC plan in place, you have to

decide if you can self-certify or if you

need to hire a professional consultant to

prepare your plan.

If you want to self-certify, there are

links in the “Tooling Up” section to various

resources, including templates and

free training sessions to help you do the

plan yourself. If you choose to hire a

consultant, look to pay between $2000

to $7000 depending on the size of your

site and the amount of tanks and equipment

you have to account for.

Whether you self-certify or hire a

professional, someone in upper management

should be actively involved in the

plan preparation and implementation.

It is upper management that will ultimately

be held responsible by EPA for

the content and implementation of the

plan, not the consultant.

After you get your plan into place,

the most difficult part comes: compliance.

Complying with a plan includes

making sure you follow through with all

of the requirements listed in your plan.

This includes training your employees

in proper inspection techniques, detection

procedures, and reporting protocols.

In preparing this article, I contacted

Steve Lichten, president and principal

environmental scientist for ESCI EnviroServices

Inc. Lichten has more than

30 years of experience in the hazardous

waste field. In that time he has taught

both university degree courses and extended

education courses in multimedia

environmental management and compliance,

industrial safety, and emergency

response planning and management.

There is a link in the “Tooling Up” section

to one of his online classes offered

free to those interested in learning more

about SPCC plans and how to become


Lichten listed the following items as

the most common compliance issues,

especially with Tier 1 and Tier 2


• Failure to conduct the frequent inspections

per the schedule in the plan

• Failure to follow up on inspection


• Failure to maintain the integrity of

the secondary containment

• Failure to keep drainage valves


• Failure to keep written records of

containment stormwater drainage and


• Failure to conduct and document the

required five-year SPCC plan review

• Failure to keep the plan updated or

current (and failure to recertify) for

any technical amendments

• Plan not consistent with field/facility


• Spill response supplies not


• Spill response procedures not consistent

with what employees actually


• Overfill prevention devices and/or

high level indicators not present or

not functioning

• Personnel training not performed or

refreshed annually.

What’s the most important part of

complying with the SPCC rules?

Lichten says, “My opinion is that there

is still a need for plan developers (both

internal to a facility and outside consultants)

to really comprehensively learn

what needs to be included in an up-todate

SPCC plan and what focus those

plans should have.”

Lichten reminds small business owners

that whether you hire a consultant to

build your plan or do it yourself, make

sure you keep up to date with the current


“I still see far too many plans that

look like they were written by folks who

have not read or kept current with any

of the revised federal SPCC rule requirements,

current available training or

guidance,” he explains.

When I asked Lichten how often a

plan needed to be modified, he had a detailed


SPCC plans are required to be

reviewed at least every five years,

and amended as necessary after that

review. If there are no “technical”

changes (a new tank, an increase in

facility capacity, facility or tank/

equipment/containment changes that

impact spill risk, etc.), there is no requirement

to re-PE certify the plan . . .

although management must document

the review. I strongly recommend that

plans and the ongoing compliance and

implementation be reviewed by facilities

and businesses at least annually,

though. Administrative changes can

be made anytime and do not require

PE recertification.

If a “technical change,” the plan must

be amended and recertified by a PE

within six months of that technical

amendment or change. Bottom line:

SPCC plans are a living document and

have no business just sitting on a shelf

never to be opened or reviewed.

The SPCC rule has been in place for

many years, and the EPA expects those

Steven Lichten, president of ESCI

EnviroServices Inc. in Long Beach,

California, offers tools to help you

comply with SPCC. They can be found

on the author’s blog at www.watertells


who haven’t complied with it in the past

to do so in the future. Not all drilling

companies will be required to comply,

but some drilling firms meet the criteria.

If you are one of those firms and

haven’t put a plan in place yet, I would

urge you to do so as soon as possible.

Sources have told me that one of the

reasons the EPA has allowed businesses

to self-certify is because they want businesses

to comply voluntarily. Those

sources have also told me that EPA is

moving from a compliance stance into

an enforcement stance in the near future.

It’s imperative you learn more about the

SPCC rule and get into compliance.

You may not have an oil spill at your

office the size of the Exxon Valdez or

the BP disaster, but you need to be prepared

for a worst-case scenario.

Remember, to the EPA there is no

such thing as a small oil spill. WWJ

A Sound Investment




Make a sound investment in your future by

attending this year’s NGWA Groundwater Expo


Explore the exhibit hall—



Twitter @WaterWellJournl

Circle card no. 20

Water Well Journal April 2013 23/

Similar magazines