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COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY SECTOR POLICY ANALYSIS

DEFINITION OF FACILITY
FINAL REPORT

EPA Contract No. 68-W-03-028


Work Assignment No. 2-19

Prepared for

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Sector Strategies Division

April 6, 2006

Prepared by

ICF Services
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031

April 6, 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
I. OVERVIEW 3

a. Background 3
b. Purpose 3

c. Report Organization 3
d. Definitions Used in This Report 4
e. Overview of the Different Definitions of “Facility” 4
i. Definition per RCRA Hazardous Wastes 5
ii. Definition per CAA Hazardous Air Pollutants 5
iii. Definition per CWA/SPCC Hazardous Substances 5
f. Data Collection Methodology 5

II. ACTIVITIES AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES SUBJECT TO


ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION 8

a. RCRA Regulations at Colleges and Universities 8


i. Multiple RCRA Facilities 9
ii. Waste Transfers 9
iii. Waste Limits per Generator Status 9
b. CAA Regulations at Colleges and Universities 10
c. CWA Regulations at Colleges and Universities 10
i. Overview of SPCC Plans 11
ii. Definition of Facility per SPCC Plans 11

III. IMPACTS OF THE DEFINITION OF FACILITY ON


ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AT COLLEGES
AND UNIVERSITIES 12

a. RCRA 12
b. CAA 14
c. CWA/SPCC 14
d. Different Definitions of Facility under RCRA, CAA, and CWA/SPCC 15

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS 16

a. Suggested Options for Revising the Definition of Facility 16


i. Revise the Definition of Facility under RCRA to Include
Non-contiguous Parts of Campus 16
ii. Allow Colleges and Universities that Comply with
Performance-based Standards to Use a Flexible Definition of
Facility under One or More Environmental Statutes or Regulations 18
iii. Revise the Definition of Facility under RCRA to Apply to

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Each Building Individually 19
iv. Revise the Definition of Facility under CAA and CWA/SPCC
to Apply to Each Building Individually 19
v. Create a Single Definition of Facility that Would be Used for
RCRA, CAA, and CWA/SPCC 20
vi. Additional Recommendations Not Directly Related to the
Definition of Facility 20
b. Recommendations for Implementation 21
i. Guidance or Regulations 21
ii. Other Recommendations for Implementation 21
c. Potential Partners for Regulatory Development and Implementation 21

APPENDIX A: GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PARTICIPATING


COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES 23

APPENDIX B: FOLLOWUP QUESTIONS 24

APPENDIX C: REGULATORY DEFINITIONS 26

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I. OVERVIEW

a. Background

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Sector Strategies Program (SSP) develops
and coordinates implementation of cross-Agency strategies to improve environmental
performance of entire sectors. One of the industry sectors that SSP is working with is the college
and universities sector.

For the past several years, EPA has been investigating the environmental issues facing colleges
and universities. EPA discovered that, for colleges and universities, compliance with
environmental regulations is a complex task. Many campuses are analogues of small cities,
within which many activities that impact the environment take place. Campuses house research
labs, art studios, print shops, power plants, underground storage tanks, boilers, and incinerators.
These facilities, and activities conducted at them, may be subject to regulation under a variety of
environmental statutes. In addition, population growth, changing demographics, and the need for
additional research or other facilities may cause many colleges and universities to expand outside
of their traditional campus boundaries. This expansion can result in both positive and negative
impacts on the environment and the communities in which campuses are located.

b. Purpose

The purpose of this report is to analyze the regulatory and policy issues specific to the college
and university sector. In particular, this report:

• Evaluates the existing definition of facility under various environmental regulations;


• Explores how those definitions impact colleges and universities; and
• Provides options for a revised definition of facility that could streamline environmental
compliance.

The key regulatory and policy issues facing colleges and universities include:

• Management of hazardous wastes, which are regulated under the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act (RCRA);
• Emissions of hazardous air pollutants, which are regulated under the Clean Air Act
(CAA); and
• Preparation for and containment of potential releases of hazardous substances, which are
regulated under the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) portion of the
Clean Water Act (CWA).

c. Report Organization

Section I of this report provides background on the project, including an overview of the
different definitions of facility and a discussion of the data collection methodology. Section II
identifies the facilities at colleges and universities that may be subject to environmental

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regulations and discusses how these definitions are applied to them. Section III summarizes the
challenges colleges and universities face in complying with environmental regulations as a result
of the application of these definitions to the unique set of operations and activities conducted on
campuses. Finally, Section IV describes potential solutions and future next steps for EPA to
address the sector’s concerns. Appendix A lists the general characteristics of the nine colleges
and universities that were interviewed as part of this project. Appendix B lists follow up
questions that were asked of the colleges and universities. Appendix C contains the actual
regulatory language associated with the definitions of facility described in this report.

d. Definitions Used in This Report

Colleges and universities often conduct their activities at a variety of locations. While some
colleges and universities, particularly in rural locations, may conduct their activities on a single,
contiguous piece of real estate, many others have multiple locations that may be separated by
public roads, parks, or private property. Colleges and universities frequently use the term
“campus” to refer to the locations where they conduct activities, but the term is inconsistently
applied, and may have different meanings at different colleges and universities.

When colleges and universities conduct activities that fall under environmental regulation, the
location of those activities occur can affect how they are regulated. The location of such
activities is particularly critical to understanding how the regulatory definition of facility is
applied to colleges and universities. For this report, special definitions have been developed to
help readers understand the locations associated with regulated activities. These definitions are
intended to be used in the context of this report, and may not be consistent with how these terms
are used at all colleges and universities.

Campus refers to any location within a geographic area at which a college or university
conducts activities and is responsible for compliance with environmental regulations in those
locations. This definition is intended to cover all the parts of a campus in a single city or
otherwise in relatively close proximity, including both the main campus and satellite areas.
Colleges that have locations in different cities separated by many miles are not intended to be
considered a single campus under this definition.

Main campus refers to the largest contiguous area on a college or university campus.

Satellite area refers to any area on a college or university campus that is not contiguous with the
main campus. Satellite areas may be separated by roads, other public property such as parks,
geographic features such as rivers, or private property such as residential housing, commercial
areas, and industrial facilities.

e. Overview of the Different Definitions of “Facility”

Per Section I.b. above, the three definitions of “facility” of most concern to the college and
university sector are: (1) that under RCRA; (2) that under CAA; and (3) that under CWA/SPCC.
This section provides a general description of these definitions. Appendix C contains the actual
regulatory language associated with the definitions of facility described in this report.

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i. Definition per RCRA Hazardous Wastes

Colleges and universities are often regulated as generators of hazardous wastes. They may also
be regulated as hazardous waste transporters, treatment facilities, or disposal facilities. EPA’s
definition for facility under RCRA is centered on contiguity. A facility might contain one or
several structures. For RCRA purposes, it is the entirety of contiguous land, structures, and
appurtenances under the control of the same owner or operator. Where land is non-contiguous,
each parcel is considered a separate facility.

ii. Definition per CAA Hazardous Air Pollutants

CAA and the regulations implementing it contain several definitions that are important in
determining the activities, operations, units, and structures that are part of the facility regulated
under a CAA permit. The closest approximation to facility that the CAA and associated
regulations define is based on the type of air emissions source. When colleges and universities
are subject to CAA, they are most likely to be regulated as “stationary sources.” CAA defines a
stationary source as any building, structure, equipment, installation, or substance-emitting
stationary activity that belongs to the same industrial group, is located on one or more contiguous
properties, and is under the control of the same person (or persons under common control).

In practice, operations and activities regulated under CAA vary from campus to campus. At
some campuses their CAA permits cover only major sources of air emissions, while at other
campuses their CAA permits cover all significant sources. CAA permits for colleges and
universities can also vary in geographic extent. At some colleges and universities, it may be
limited to specific buildings, while at others it may include the entire campus, including satellite
areas that are not contiguous with the main campus.

iii. Definition per CWA/SPCC Hazardous Substances

Colleges and universities may store oil or other chemicals. Under CWA, for purposes of
developing an SPCC, facility means any mobile or fixed, onshore or offshore building, structure,
installation, equipment, pipe, or pipeline (other than a vessel or a public vessel) used in oil well
drilling operations, oil production, oil refining, oil storage, oil gathering, oil processing, oil
transfer, oil distribution, and waste treatment, or in which oil is used. The boundaries of a facility
depend on several factors including, but not limited to, the ownership or operation of buildings,
structures, and equipment and the types of activity conducted.

In practice, the parts of a campus covered under an SPCC Plan vary from campus to campus. At
some colleges and universities, only the main campus is covered by their SPCC Plan, while at
others their SPCC Plan also includes satellite areas.

f. Data Collection Methodology

From February to March 2006, phone interviews were conducted with staff responsible for
environmental compliance at the following nine colleges and universities:

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1. Boston University
2. Catholic University of America
3. Colorado College
4. Iowa State University
5. Kansas State University
6. Rice University
7. University of California, Berkeley
8. University of Maryland, College Park
9. University of Vermont

EPA selected institutions that had a diverse set of characteristics to help ensure that campuses
with different environmental challenges and approaches to environmental compliance would be
represented. These nine participants represent a geographically and demographically diverse
cross-section of the higher education sector, including:

• Large and small student populations (with undergraduate student populations ranging
from 1,977 to 29,253);
• Campuses in both urban and rural settings;
• Publicly- and privately-funded institutions (four independent and five state-supported
institutions); and
• Colleges and universities with compact, contiguous campuses as well as those with
campuses that include multiple satellite areas.

Appendix A lists other general characteristics of the participating institutions.

The contacts were asked the following eight questions to tease out sector concerns with the
different definitions of facility as related to their environmental obligations:

1. How many EPA IDs does your campus have?


2. How proximate are the locations?
3. Do you ship waste between EPA IDs? If so, how? If not, why not? (or would you like
to?)
4. If you were given the opportunity to define your facility or facilities for hazardous waste
management purposes, how would you do so? And why? [This question could help
explain other models and their benefits.]
5. How is your facility defined under the Clean Air Act?
6. How is your facility defined under the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures
program?
7. What do you think is the best way to manage these areas, and why?
8. Do differing facility definitions cause difficulties in managing these protection and
compliance programs? – if so, please give information on the difficulties.

Depending on the preference of the school contact, phone interviews were conducted or
responses were collected via e-mail. For each phone interview, a written telephone call record
was prepared to document the responses.

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After collecting information from all nine colleges and universities, copies of written telephone
records were provided to the contacts so they could verify their responses. Clarification of
responses was also requested where appropriate.

During the initial interviews, some colleges and universities had specific recommendations on
how to change regulatory programs to streamline compliance for their sector. The initial contact
was followed up with a second set of questions to help identify obstacles to environmental
compliance and potential solutions designed to overcome such obstacles. Attachment B lists
these questions. As part of this follow up effort, the interviewees shared their opinions about
whether changes suggested by their peers would benefit their campus.

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II. ACTIVITIES AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES SUBJECT TO
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION

Colleges and universities engage in a variety of activities that are subject to environmental
regulations. These activities, and the regulations that are usually applicable to them, are listed in
Table 1 below. Additional information on each statute then follows.

The table below is based on the responses from the colleges and universities interviewed as
described in Section I.e. above, applicable Federal and state regulations, and an understanding of
the typical activities conducted at colleges and universities. Because state regulations may vary,
and the activities conducted at colleges and universities may also vary, the table may not
accurately reflect the applicability of regulations to all colleges and universities.

Table 1: Typical Activities at Colleges and Universities Subject to Environmental Regulation

Type of Campus Statute


Facility RCRA CAA CWA/SPCC
Laboratories Chemical use creates Volatile chemicals may be
hazardous waste stream released into atmosphere
Art Studios Chemical use creates Volatile chemicals may be
hazardous waste stream released into atmosphere
Print Studios Chemical use creates Volatile chemicals may be
hazardous waste stream released into atmosphere
Power Plants and Hazardous wastes may Combustion may result in Fuel oil storage
Boilers be burned for energy the release of hazardous air
recovery pollutants
Medical Facilities Chemical use creates Volatile chemicals may be
hazardous waste stream released into atmosphere
Emergency Combustion may result in Fuel oil storage
Generators the release of hazardous air
pollutants
Elevator Hydraulic oil storage
Maintenance
Food Service Cooking oil storage

a. RCRA Regulations at Colleges and Universities

RCRA, as amended, directs EPA to establish programs to address hazardous and nonhazardous
solid waste management. EPA, states, and tribes implement, maintain, and enforce these
programs through a variety of mechanisms.

Colleges and universities will often fall under the “generator” category of entities regulated
under RCRA’s hazardous waste program. Some colleges may also store or treat hazardous
wastes (e.g., burn wastes for energy recovery) which may bring them into the definition of a
treatment, storage, or disposal facility. In addition, some colleges and universities are licensed
hazardous waste transporters. A “generator” includes any facility or person that creates
hazardous waste subject to regulation, or whose act first causes EPA to subject a hazardous

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waste to regulation. Requirements applicable to generators include storage provisions,
emergency planning, personnel training, and recordkeeping and reporting that ensures all
hazardous wastes are identified and managed to protect human health and the environment.

The requirement that each RCRA facility consist of contiguous property has an impact on how
colleges and universities manage their hazardous wastes. In addition, the RCRA definition of
“facility,” in conjunction with other aspects of RCRA, such as the thresholds at which certain
regulations apply, can have a particular impact at colleges and universities. These impacts are
discussed below.

i. Multiple RCRA Facilities

With very few exceptions, every facility that generates, treats, stores, or disposes of hazardous
waste must have an EPA identification number. Because the RCRA definition of facility
requires that any non-contiguous property be identified as a separate facility, and many campuses
are geographically not contiguous, colleges and universities often have multiple RCRA facilities.
Colleges and universities must perform separate registration, reporting, and recordkeeping for
each RCRA facility.

ii. Waste Transfers

Transfers of hazardous wastes must be done by a licensed and registered hazardous waste
transporter and must be accompanied by a hazardous waste manifest that tracks the waste. When
colleges and universities transfer wastes between RCRA facilities, these transfers must comply
with the RCRA hazardous waste transport requirement, even if the transfer is from one part of
the same campus to another.

iii. Waste Limits per Generator Status

RCRA regulations vary based on the amount of waste generated per month. Large quantity
generators (LQGs) must meet requirements that small quantity generators (SQGs) do not need to
meet. In some states, facilities may qualify for conditionally exempt SQG (CESQG) status.
CESQGs have even fewer regulatory requirements. The amount of waste that determines a
facility’s generator status depends on the type of waste produced. Each non-contiguous area of a
college or university is considered a separate facility under RCRA. Therefore, the main campus
and each satellite area that generates hazardous waste are considered separate facilities. Colleges
and universities must perform a separate determination of generator status for each RCRA
facility. Colleges and universities with multiple RCRA facilities may have a different generator
status for each facility, which may result in different requirements for the hazardous waste
generated in different parts of the campus.

The amount of hazardous waste generated by colleges and universities can vary from month to
month. The monthly change can be particularly significant in the case of laboratories, which
have periodic cleanouts of expired or unused chemicals. Because RCRA generator status is based
on the monthly generation of waste, some facilities at colleges and universities may change their
status from month to month.

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b. CAA Regulations at Colleges and Universities

CAA, as amended, directs EPA to regulate stationary and mobile sources of air pollutants. EPA,
states, and tribes implement, maintain, and enforce these standards through a variety of
mechanisms. The law includes programs to address smog, acid rain, stratospheric ozone
protection, and air toxics.

Colleges and universities may fall under CAA’s “stationary source” definition when they have
power plants or utility boilers on campus used for heat or power generation. Whether a college
or university is subject to CAA regulations and needs a permit may depend on a variety of
factors, such as the amount and type of emissions, and whether the campus is in a non-attainment
zone as defined under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Most CAA permits
are issued by State and local permitting authorities. Title V permits are required for all major
stationary sources. In addition, some local agencies also require CAA permits for minor sources.

All of the nine colleges and universities hold a CAA permit, while eight of the nine have Title V
permits for major sources. At some colleges and universities, a CAA permit is required due to
the presence of major stationary sources of emissions, such as boilers. Once a permit is required
for a major source, additional sources of air emissions at the college or university may also be
included in their CAA permit. The emissions sources covered under a college or university’s
CAA permit can vary from campus to campus. At some of the colleges and universities, local
agencies require that their permits cover minor sources. At other campuses, their CAA permit
may only cover the boiler or other major source. The interviewed colleges and universities also
reported variability in the parts of their campus covered under their CAA permit. At some
campuses, their CAA permit may include only the main campus, while others reported that their
CAA permits covered both the main campus and satellite areas.

c. CWA Regulations at Colleges and Universities

The primary objective of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the
Clean Water Act, is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the
nation’s surface waters. Pollutants regulated under CWA are classified as “priority” pollutants.
These include various toxic pollutants; “conventional” pollutants, such as biochemical oxygen
demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), fecal chloroform, oil and grease, and pH; and
“non-conventional” pollutants, including any pollutant not identified as either conventional or
priority.

The most common ways that CWA affects operations are through requirements for storm water
permits and SPCC Plans. Contacts described in Section I.b. did not identify issues associated
with storm water permits at colleges and universities. Therefore, storm water is not discussed
further in this document. However, issues associated with the definition of facility and SPCC
Plans are discussed below.

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i. Overview of SPCC Plans

A facility must prepare an SPCC Plan if:

1. It is non-transportation related;
2. It has an aggregate aboveground storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons, or
completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons; and
3. There must be a reasonable expectation of discharge into navigable waters.

If any of the conditions in #2 are met, the entire facility is regulated under SPCC requirements.
As such, the facility must make one Plan that covers every container holding over 55 gallons of
oil. Revisions to the SPCC regulations promulgated in 2002 provided some regulatory relief,
such as not counting toward the regulatory threshold completely buried tanks that meet certain
standards, containers with a capacity of less than 55 gallons, and containers meeting a definition
of “permanently closed.” These types of containers were also exempted from regulation, and are
not subject to SPCC Plan requirements at the Federal level. However, some states may have
more stringent requirements that could continue to regulate such containers.

The large storage tanks often needed for fuel for boilers have caused many colleges and
universities to need SPCC Plans. Although colleges and universities may be required to develop
SPCC Plans based on fuel storage tanks for boilers, once an SPCC Plan is required, they often
must include in those Plans containers associated with oil storage at other facilities on campus,
such as fuel storage for emergency generators, hydraulic oil storage in elevator maintenance
areas, and cooking oil storage in dining service areas.

ii. Definition of Facility per SPCC Plans

The definition of facility applied for SPCC Plans has been inconsistent across colleges and
universities. At some campuses, their SPCC Plan may only cover the main campus. Others
report their SPCC Plans are required to cover all of the campus, including satellite areas.

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III. IMPACTS OF THE DEFINITION OF FACILITY ON ENVIRONMENTAL
MANAGEMENT AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The regulations described above, the definition of facility used in the implementation of those
regulations, and the types of facilities and management practices used by colleges and
universities have resulted in challenges to the sector in complying with environmental
requirements. Some colleges and universities reported that they are satisfied with existing
regulations, and have found ways to comply with those regulations efficiently. Others welcomed
changes that could reduce their regulatory burden. Many of the interviewees agreed that, in
some way or another, the different definitions of facility adversely affected the allocation of their
resources. Two distinct but related general issues were frequently cited:

1. Campuses with satellite areas have increased regulatory complexity and additional
compliance costs because they are regulated as separate and distinct facilities.
2. Certain areas or activities at colleges and universities put them over a regulatory
threshold that results in other areas and activities being subjected to regulations that
would otherwise not be regulated.

The following discussion summarizes the challenges identified and issues raised by the nine
interviewees, by statute.

a. RCRA

Overall, RCRA regulations are the most problematic for colleges and universities. Eight of the
nine interviewees raised specific concerns about RCRA’s regulatory scheme, noting that its
definition of “facility,” which is based on contiguity, is not practical for the sector and creates an
undue regulatory burden.

Only two interviewees reported having only one RCRA facility; the remaining seven reported
anywhere from three to 20. For example, Boston University has 11 RCRA generator IDs,
including one LQG, 2 SQGs, and 8 CESQGs. Many of these facilities are separated by only one
road or parcel of land.

Interviewees raised five specific issues related to the RCRA definition of “facility:”

• Additional paperwork burden and cost – Since colleges and universities with RCRA
generators on the main campus and satellite areas must treat each as a separate RCRA
facility, additional paperwork is associated with registration, reporting, and record
keeping for these multiple facilities. In addition, the paperwork burden associated with
the RCRA hazardous waste manifest for transfers of waste across campus was noted as
particularly burdensome. Some states have fees for each RCRA facility, so colleges and
universities with multiple RCRA facilities must pay higher fees. In addition, tracking
and reporting activities by facility was confusing and required additional staff time.

• Different requirements at different facilities lead to training and compliance issues –


Different RCRA facilities on the same campus may be subject to different requirements

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based on their generator status. In some instances, the institution must implement
different practices for the same activities when they are conducted in different satellite
areas of the campus with different RCRA generator statues. This can cause confusion
among staff, resulting in additional training needs and increased potential for
noncompliance.

• Additional burden for on-campus waste transfers – The “contiguity” definition and the
different thresholds for waste also affect the sector’s approach to the shipment and
disposal of hazardous waste. Although some colleges and universities stated that their
status as CESQGs allowed them to ship wastes with minimal regulatory burden, others
stated that hazardous waste shipments were expensive and burdensome. The requirement
that waste must be shipped by a RCRA-licensed transporter, along with the manifesting
requirements, resulted in significant costs and paperwork burden for waste shipments.

For example, at the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland, all waste is
shipped on Hazardous Waste Uniform Manifests or Hazardous Material Bills of Lading.
The University of Vermont owns a permitted waste hauling vehicle, has a waste
transporter ID number, and maintains employees with Certified Driver’s Licenses (CDL)
with hazmat endorsements. Both universities sign as the generator of the waste,
transporter of the waste, and the receiving facility.

In addition, some interviewees stated that the regulatory burden associated with waste
shipment causes them to manage wastes in ways that are not cost effective or might be
less preferable environmentally. For example, Kansas State does not ship hazardous
wastes between its six RCRA facilities. Instead, it hires vendors to go to each facility
separately to ensure the waste is treated and disposed properly. Kansas State would
prefer to bring the wastes into its main campus, where most of the waste would be reused.
However, the university feels that the regulatory burden associated with transport is too
great, so it sends wastes for off-site disposal, even though it is more expensive.

• LQG thresholds – Small colleges are concerned that certain chemicals have very low
thresholds, as low as one pound, for LQG status. They suggested these thresholds were
intended for large industrial sources of waste and were not appropriate for small
laboratory facilities. They felt that the risk posed by these relatively small amounts of
waste did not justify the additional regulatory burden associated with LQG status.

• Monthly determination of generator status – Some colleges and universities also felt that
the determination of generator status based on the monthly generation rate was not
compatible with the typical academic calendar, and was unduly burdensome, particularly
for facilities that generate wastes only episodically. For example, Boston University
stated that it must have a RCRA facility ID for some laboratories that generate wastes
only once per year due to clean-outs. At Colorado College, clean-outs of lab inventory
may occur when staff members leave the university or when research projects are
completed. This may result in a one-time generation event requiring a RCRA facility ID.
Colleges and universities felt that the regulatory burden associated with disposing of such
materials could create an incentive to keep potentially dangerous materials in inventory.

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b. CAA

All of the colleges and universities have permits under the Clean Air Act. All of these
institutions stated that they were regulated due to the emissions from their power plants or
boilers. Several of the interviewees felt that regulation of the smaller emissions sources (in
addition to these larger sources) was overly burdensome and provided little environmental
benefit. For example, Iowa State has two permits: (1) one permit for the on-campus heating
plant has 10 emission points and costs about $90,000 per year in state fees, while (2) the second
is for the “Balance of Campus,” which covers the remaining nearly 200 emission points on
campus; fees for this permit are less than $1,000.

Although the CAA permits at these campuses seemed to be inconsistent with regard to the parts
of the campus to which they applied, the colleges and universities did not cite this as a problem
with the CAA definition of “facility.” For example, Colorado College’s Central Plant is
considered a minor source, and its definition of facility is the Central Plant building plus about
two feet. At Boston University, the Charles River Campus is a major source under the CAA for
NOx and SO2 and is operating under a CAA permit. The university’s entire campus, including
satellite areas, is included in the permit.

c. CWA/SPCC

Seven of the colleges and universities interviewed have an SPCC Plan. Rice University and
Colorado College, which are among the smallest interviewees, are not required to have SPCC
Plans.

Specific issues raised by interviewees about the definition of facility under CWA include the
following:

• CWA covers many smaller sources, with little environmental benefit – Many of the
colleges and universities with SPCC Plans felt that the inclusion of numerous small
containers was overly burdensome. For colleges and universities that have many tanks
spread out over a large area, SPCC Plans may be complex and lengthy, requiring
significant resources to develop and maintain. While the Plan may cover the entire
campus and numerous small containers, it is usually only a couple of localized petroleum
storage containers that push the college or university above the threshold for regulation.
For example, at UC Berkeley, the facility is defined as the entire main campus. Of the 40
tanks on the main campus, only two or three exceed the threshold limit. The combined
capacity of the remaining tanks is less than the threshold. Due to those two or three
tanks, the entire main campus falls under SPCC. The main burden for colleges and
universities is creating an inventory of the containers and completing compliance
training.

• Unclear definition – Interviewees also felt that the definition of facility for purposes of
developing an SPCC Plan is not always clear and is inconsistent across the sector. The
parts of a campus covered under a Plan vary from campus to campus based on state and

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local regulations and the interpretations of those regulations by enforcement officials. At
some colleges and universities, only the main campus is required to be covered by their
SPCC Plans, while at others their SPCC Plans are required to include satellite areas. For
example, at the University of Vermont, the main campus and multiple satellite areas have
oil storage, but only two locations have oil storage capacities above the regulatory
threshold, and each of these locations has a separate SPCC Plan. At Boston University,
the entire campus is covered under a single SPCC Plan, including satellite areas.

d. Different Definitions of Facility under RCRA, CAA, and CWA/SPCC

Some colleges and universities felt that the different definitions of facility under different
statutes or regulations led to confusion among staff and potential noncompliance. Problems arise
when, for example, the Environmental, Health, and Safety Office has to explain to custodial
staff, faculty, and students that the definition of facility changes depending on the waste or
environmental statute in question. In some cases, professors may have classrooms in different
locations across campus, each subject to different requirements. Due to varying definitions,
instructions to custodial staff, faculty, and students regarding EPA compliance can differ from
building to building. For example, at Iowa State their CAA permit covers all of the campus
within a two mile radius from the center of the main campus, while under RCRA, the definition
is based on contiguity. Their SPCC Plan covers all oil containers on campus with a storage
capacity greater than 55 gallons. This results in various areas of Iowa State being within
inconsistent realms of regulation. For instance, a particular building might be regulated under
CAA but not under RCRA.

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IV. RECOMMENDATIONS

Interviewees suggested several options for changing the definition of facility used by RCRA,
CAA, and SPCC Plans, which they felt would streamline environmental compliance at colleges
and universities. These options are listed in Section IV.a. below, along with some potential
advantages and disadvantages associated with each recommendation. While the
recommendations were proposed by the interviewees, the advantages and disadvantages include
those suggested by the interviewees as well as those that were identified through regulatory
analysis. In addition, colleges and universities had several recommendations for regulatory
changes that were not related to the definition of facility or were only tangentially related. These
are also discussed below, but more briefly. A discussion of recommendations for implementing
a revised definition of facility, and a list of potential partners that might assist with the
development or implementation of a revised definition of facility, are provided in Sections IV.b.
and IV.c., respectively.

a. Suggested Options for Revising the Definition of Facility

i. Revise the Definition of Facility under RCRA to Include Satellite Areas

Most colleges and universities are in favor of a more flexible approach specifically designed for
their sector. A majority of interviewees suggested that RCRA broaden its definition of facility
for colleges and universities to allow them to create one RCRA ID for their entire campus.

• One potential option is to adopt a RCRA definition of facility that includes the
entire campus, including both the main campus and satellite areas.
• Another potential option is to use the existing RCRA definition of “on-site.” This
term is used in specific hazardous waste regulations, such as in the identification of
inherently waste-like materials at 40 CFR 261.2(d)(2)(iii). The definition of on-site
includes properties separated only by a public road or right-of-way. The RCRA
definition of on-site is provided in Appendix C. A related suggestion was that the
definition include satellite areas separated only by a public road or a single parcel of land.
• Another suggestion was that a flexible definition be adopted, which takes into
account the local circumstances. Two universities recommended that each campus be
allowed to determine which operations or locations to combine into each RCRA facility.
• Another suggestion was to allow consolidation of waste from facilities with a
CESQG or SQG status without requiring a TSD permit at the consolidating facility. The
university also suggested the development of a less burdensome alternative to the existing
RCRA hazardous waste transport and manifest requirements for transfers associated with
consolidating waste.

Advantages: For most colleges and universities, multiple ID numbers make tracking difficult and
maintenance and inspection burdensome. With one EPA ID number for the entire campus,
reporting to state and federal officials would be greatly simplified. A single facility would also
reduce the manifesting and reporting burden for intra-campus waste transfers. This approach
would also eliminate the need for creating temporary ID numbers for one-time cleanouts. Waste
could be consolidated to one main storage area, instead of requiring separate storage areas,

April 6, 2006 Page 17


reducing risks of releases and injuries. Wastes could then be managed in larger loads, which is
typically less expensive than small loads. Barriers to recycling or reuse of waste would also be
lower. Some colleges also felt that training would be easier, because the same procedures could
be applied at all locations on campus. They also felt that this might also increase compliance.
One additional advantage cites was that colleges and universities may also be able to align their
environmental management with their administrative management, rather than by location.

Disadvantages: Many colleges and universities were concerned that a move to a single RCRA
facility could result in some satellite areas at colleges and universities requiring more stringent
regulations. For example, if all of a campus were considered one facility under RCRA, separate
facilities that are currently considered CESQGs or SQGs might be considered an LQG when
their waste generation rates are combined. One university felt that this might result in an
increased burden associated with training staff to comply with more stringent requirements
associated with LQG status. Several colleges and universities expressed concern about this
potential outcome, and such an outcome might discourage some colleges and universities from
adopting this regulatory approach if it were optional, or to oppose it if it were not optional.

Some potential ways of mitigating this disadvantage include making the revised facility
definition optional and allowing colleges and universities to continue to apply the generator
standards they are currently using to satellite areas. This option might also require additional
implementation assistance from EPA and the states to help colleges and universities determine
their facility boundaries. In addition, some colleges and universities were concerned that
regulators would have difficulty understanding optional or flexible approaches to determining
facility boundaries, and would apply the regulations inconsistently, or not allow their use.
Additional training for regulators and enforcement officials might be needed to help understand
such an approach. The way such an approach is crafted might also create incentives for colleges
to disperse their activities to ensure that none of the campus needs to comply with LQG
regulations.

Another potential disadvantage may be that waste transfers would no longer be regulated under
RCRA at many colleges and universities, and the safeguards associated with the use of licensed
RCRA transporters and the hazardous waste manifest system would no longer be in place. This
may present additional risks in some cases. These additional risks may be small if the distance of
the waste transfers is short. In addition, some waste transfers may continue to be subject to other
regulations that would continue to provide environmental protection and tracking. For example,
some transfers would continue to be subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations
for dangerous goods shipping.

Another potential disadvantage is that RCRA may require facility-wide corrective action
measures in response to certain events such as cleanups of spills. For some colleges and
universities, if their campus were considered a single facility, cleanup of a spill may trigger
campus-wide corrective actions. At a campus that is divided into multiple facilities, the
corrective action requirements in response to a spill might be more limited.

April 6, 2006 Page 18


ii. Allow Colleges and Universities that Comply with Performance-based Standards
to Use a Flexible Definition of Facility under One or More Environmental
Statutes or Regulations

Several colleges and universities expressed an interest in allowing a more flexible definition of
facility when certain performance-based standards are met. Under this option, an alternate
definition of facility could be used, or a college or university could identify the boundaries of
each facility on their campus within certain guidelines. The flexibility could be limited to one
particular set of environmental regulations, such as RCRA, or could apply to RCRA, CAA, and
SPCC. Suggested performance-based standards included (1) developing a management plan for
environmental compliance on campus, and (2) including environmental considerations and staff
in campus planning. One college referenced a Web site that showed potential management
approaches and the means to evaluate them
(http://www.ermanz.govt.nz/resources/publications/pdfs/ER-IS-08-2.pdf ).
.
Advantages: Some potential advantages of this approach are that it could reduce the cost of
regulatory compliance for colleges and universities. Having flexibility in the definition of
facility could allow colleges and universities to optimize the number and boundaries of facilities
to reduce regulatory complexity and compliance burdens. In addition, this approach could
reduce compliance costs associated with training, if it were structured in a way that resulted in
uniform regulatory requirements at all locations on campus engaged in similar regulated
activities. It also could be structured to encourage pollution prevention and waste minimization.
If the change resulted in effective management plans, it could ultimately lead to better
environmental, health, and safety outcomes. With a common definition of “facility,” it could be
easier for colleges and universities to integrate overall waste generation and pollution data. A
more detailed description of these and other benefits is contained in the Fact Sheet for Senior
Administrators developed by the Colleges and Universities Sector Group
( http://www.c2e2.org/ems/Fact_Sheet_10-6.pdf )

Disadvantages: The level of flexibility in defining facility could affect whether colleges and
universities would be willing to adopt a management plan in exchange for increased flexibility.
Depending on the types of flexibility allowed, at some colleges and universities the measure
might not provide any regulatory relief. In addition, the costs associated with developing a
management plan could outweigh the benefits of increased regulatory flexibility.

This option might require additional implementation assistance from EPA or states for colleges
and universities developing management plans. One college expressed a concern that the cost of
conventional compliance is often lower than the cost of an innovative program. Colleges and
universities may choose to forego an innovative approach, because it is easier at inspection time
to explain a program that an inspector understands than an innovative one. Additional training
may be needed for regulators and enforcement officials to help them accept innovative
approaches, ensure that such approaches are applied in a consistent fashion, and determine
whether management plans are acceptable.

April 6, 2006 Page 19


iii. Revise the Definition of Facility under RCRA to Apply to Each Building
Individually

Recognizing the incentive of keeping facilities below regulatory thresholds, one university
located in a state that recognizes CESQG status suggested that each building be considered a
separate RCRA facility. Under this scenario, each building on its campus would qualify as a
CESQG, with the lower associated regulatory burden.

Advantages: This option would be advantageous to some schools, because it would reduce their
regulatory burden. For some schools, it may allow them to assign all RCRA facilities the same
generator status, thus decreasing confusion among their students and staff and potentially
reducing training costs and increasing compliance.

Disadvantages: This option would likely result in some colleges and universities having more
RCRA facilities on their campus, which could result in increased regulatory complexity and
increased fees. This option could also create an incentive for colleges and universities to
disperse their hazardous waste-generating activities among multiple buildings, which may
increase the risks associated with those activities by spreading them over a larger area, and
requiring more frequent or longer distance transfers of hazardous wastes. In addition, it may
create an added paperwork burden associated with manifesting the transport of wastes. In
addition, some states do not recognize CESQG or SQG status, and therefore this option would
not provide regulatory to relief for colleges and universities in those states.

iv. Revise the Definition of Facility under CAA and CWA/SPCC to Apply to Each
Building Individually

At many colleges and universities, only a limited number of larger operations exceed the
threshold for a CAA permit or SPCC Plan. In most cases, if the definition of facility were
revised to regulate buildings rather than the entire campus, only a few tanks or boilers would
need a CAA permit or an SPCC Plan. Some of the interviewees recommended defining each
building as a separate facility for CAA permits and SPCC Plans.

Advantages: This approach would reduce the scope of CAA permits and SPCC Plans at colleges
and universities, resulting in shorter, simpler permits and plans, less training, lower permit fees,
and lower compliance costs.

Disadvantages: This option could create an incentive for some colleges and universities to
disperse their activities among multiple buildings, which may increase the risks associated with
those activities by spreading them over a larger area. For example, an incentive might exist to
change fuel storage from a few large tanks to many small tanks in more locations so that none
require an SPCC Plan. In addition, fewer emissions sources and containers at colleges and
universities would be covered under CAA permits and SPCC Plans, which in turn could lead to
greater risks to the environment.

April 6, 2006 Page 20


v. Create a Single Definition of Facility that Would be Used for RCRA, CAA, and
CWA/SPCC

Some colleges and universities recommended using a single definition of facility for all
environmental statutes and regulations.

Advantages: At some colleges and universities, a single definition for all environmental statutes
and regulations could reduce complexity, confusion among staff and students, and training
requirements, and could increase compliance. Depending on how the definition of facility is
determined, many of the advantages for the options discussed previously might also apply.

Disadvantages: The specific definition of facility used may not be optimal for each regulation.
Any potential definition would need to be crafted so that it would be appropriate for all
applicable regulations. Depending on how the definition of facility is determined, many of the
disadvantages for the options discussed previously might also apply.

vi. Additional Recommendations Not Directly Related to the Definition of Facility

Interviewees suggested a number of other recommendations that were not directly related to the
definition of “facility:”

• Field activities away from campus may generate hazardous waste – For example, waste
may be generated from water test kits. One college recommended that the waste be
shipped back to the university for management and be accounted for under one of its
existing RCRA facilities, rather than creating a separate RCRA facility for the field
activity.
• Waste must be removed from accumulation areas within 90 days – This schedule is
inconsistent with the flow of an academic calendar, and colleges and universities often
store, under satellite accumulation, hazardous material in student-dense areas. One
college recommended that regulatory language be changed to allow colleges and
universities to arrange shipment times based on the academic calendar, conditioned upon
certain storage requirements.
• The threshold for LQG status should be increased – By increasing the hazardous waste
threshold, there will be an incentive to consolidate hazardous waste at a centralized
management center.
• Laboratories should be excluded from RCRA regulations to simplify the regulatory
requirements.
• EPA should redefine generator status based on the mass of waste generated per unit area
of the facility – One college representative stated that this approach would allow
regulatory requirements to be set based on high, medium, and low intensity rates of
generation of waste.
• EPA should work with Congress to create a requirement for states to adopt regulatory
changes that decrease regulatory burden on higher education – One college suggested
linking continued grant funding for state agencies to adoption of regulatory relief for
higher education.

April 6, 2006 Page 21


b. Recommendations for Implementation

Follow up on the initial set of interviews included a question regarding whether a revised
approach to the definition of facility should be implemented through guidance or regulations. In
addition, interviewees had other recommendations on potential methods for improving
implementation.

i. Guidance or Regulations

Many states are authorized to implement environmental regulations under RCRA, CAA, and
CWA. Therefore, any changes made by EPA to these regulations would not automatically apply
to those states. Since state-run programs must be at least as protective as federal regulations,
states can also choose to adopt more stringent standards. The individual states would need to
modify their programs to implement any changes made by EPA to the definition of facility, and
some may choose not to adopt such standards if they were less restrictive. College and
university representatives who responded to this question generally felt that guidance could be
implemented more quickly but would be less likely to be implemented by states than a
rulemaking. One college recommended doing both guidance and a rulemaking.

ii. Other Recommendations for Implementation

Interviewees expressed the following recommendations on potential methods for improving


implementation:

• Convening a working group to draft standards for management plans for colleges
and universities;
• Facilitating meetings between state regulators and higher education;
• Promoting alternative approaches with regulatory officials at the regional and
state level, stressing that such a strategy is in the nation’s best interest and serves the will
of the people;
• Suspending enforcement activities against higher education until performance-
based alternatives exist; and
• Providing incentives to states to adopt any new approaches, such as suspending
grants to states that do not adopt a new approach.

c. Potential Partners for Regulatory Development and Implementation

The development and implementation of a revised definition for facility is more likely to be
successful if done in conjunction with partners in regulatory agencies and the regulated colleges
and universities. OPEI is already engaging some of these potential partners through a working
group of colleges and universities. Some additional potential partner organizations are listed
below. As these organizations are identified, additional research will need to be done to identify
the individuals within these organizations that can act as conduits for these partnerships.

• Potential EPA partners – Office of Solid Waste, Office of Water, Office of Air and
Radiation, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, EPA Regional Offices

April 6, 2006 Page 22


• Potential State Partners – State regulatory agencies
• Potential College and University Partners – CSHEMA, ECOS, individual colleges and
universities

April 6, 2006 Page 23


APPENDIX A: GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
PARTICIPATING COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES1

Number of
Number of
State Undergraduate
Name Type Faculty
Students2
Boston University MA Independent 18,694 2,438
Catholic University of DC
Independent 3,053 714
America
Colorado College CO Independent 1,977 206
Iowa State University IA State-supported 20,732 1,636
Kansas State University KS State-supported 19,098 1,048
Rice University TX Independent 3,185 710
University of California, CA
State-supported 23,447 Not Available
Berkeley
University of Maryland, MD
State-supported 29,253 2,862
College Park
University of Vermont VT State-supported 9,235 691

1
Unless otherwise noted, information was obtained at the following Web site: www.petersons.com
2
Represents total number of undergraduate students at each college or university.

April 6, 2006 Page 24


1 APPENDIX B: FOLLOWUP QUESTIONS

Guidance versus Proposed Rule

1. In order for you to implement a revised definition of facility or otherwise change your
environmental practices, would guidance be sufficient, or do you think a rulemaking
published in the Federal Register is necessary? Will changes need to be mandatory,
or will guidance be a sufficient justification and motivation?

Helpfulness of Regulatory Options Suggested by Other Respondents

2. Some suggestions for easing the regulatory burden for colleges and universities have
focused on a revised definition of facility to be used by colleges and universities that
comply with certain performance-based standards, similar to the outcomes of the
RCRA lab rule. For example, colleges and universities that create and implement a
management plan meeting certain performance standards could use an alternative
definition of “facility.” Would your school consider taking advantage of such an
option? Do you have suggestions about what performance standards should be used
to evaluate the management plans?

3. If you have multiple RCRA generator IDs, would a single ID make compliance less
complex? Would it make compliance more affordable?

4. For some colleges and universities, the multiple definitions of facility can lead to
different management practices for the same or similar waste or activity in different
parts of the campus. This may lead to different practices in different parts of the
campus, result in confusion among staff, and result in the need for more training. Do
you face this problem? How would you change current definitions or regulations to
make things simpler for your staff? What else could EPA do to help with this type of
problem?

Other Contacts

5. Is the focus of your efforts on a particular statute/regulation, such as RCRA? Does


your college or university have another person we should be talking with about
regulatory compliance under other statutes, such as CAA? Is environmental
compliance at your school sufficiently labor-intensive that you must have multiple
staff members devoted to it?

April 6, 2006
Planning

6. To what extent is your office involved in overall planning and evaluating long-term
and future needs as opposed to day-to-day activities? Do you focus on future needs
that may impact your campus? For example, to what extent do you consult in your
school’s master plan, or with committees such as buildings and grounds committees?
How, in other words, does the school’s overall planning scheme incorporate
environmental issues?

7. What compliance benefits do you currently or could you potentially gain from
involvement in planning? Please provide examples if possible, such as improving
designs to reduce or control contaminated storm water, or locating hazardous waste
generating facilities on contiguous property to reduce transportation and manifesting
costs.

Labor and Cost Information

8. What are the costs of your CAA permit(s), in state fees and maintenance?

Cost in Dollars
0 - None Less than $5,000 – $10,000 – $50,000 – $100,000 Greater
$5,000 10,000 50,000 100,000 – 500,000 than
$500,000

9. What costs stem from drafting your SPCC Plan?

Cost in Dollars
0 - None Less than $5,000 – $10,000 – $50,000 – $100,000 Greater
$5,000 10,000 50,000 100,000 – 500,000 than
$500,000

Cost in Labor as Number of Full Time Equivalent Employees


0 - None Less 1–2 3–5 6 – 10 11 – 20 21 – 39 More
than 1 than 40

April 6, 2006 26
1 APPENDIX C: REGULATORY DEFINITIONS

This appendix contains the regulatory language associated with the definitions of facility
discussed in this document. The definitions from RCRA, CAA, and SPCC are provided.

RCRA

RCRA definitions for facility and on-site are given in 40 CFR 260.10 and are provided
below.

“Facility means:
(1) All contiguous land, and structures, other appurtenances, and improvements
on the land, used for treating, storing, or disposing of hazardous waste. A facility may
consist of several treatment, storage, or disposal operational units (e.g., one or more
landfills, surface impoundments, or combinations of them).
(2) For the purpose of implementing corrective action under Sec. 264.101, all
contiguous property under the control of the owner or operator seeking a permit under
subtitle C of RCRA. This definition also applies to facilities implementing corrective
action under RCRA Section 3008(h).
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this definition, a remediation waste
management site is not a facility that is subject to 40 CFR 264.101, but is subject to
corrective action requirements if the site is located within such a facility.”

“On-site means the same or geographically contiguous property which may be


divided by public or private right-of-way, provided the entrance and exit between
the properties is at a cross-roads intersection, and access is by crossing as opposed
to going along, the right-of-way. Non-contiguous properties owned by the same
person but connected by a right-of-way which he controls and to which the public
does not have access, is also considered on-site property.”

CAA

CAA and the regulations implementing it contain several definitions that are important in
determining the activities, operations, units, and structures that are part of the facility
regulated under a CAA permit. Some key definition that affect colleges and universities
are:

• Stationary source from 40 CFR 60.2


“Stationary source means any building, structure, facility, or installation which
emits or may emit any air pollutant.”

• Affected facility from 40 CFR 60.2


“Affected facility means, with reference to a stationary source, any apparatus to
which a standard is applicable.”

April 6, 2006 27
• Affected source from 40 CFR 63.2
“Affected source, for the purposes of this part, means the collection of
equipment, activities, or both within a single contiguous area and under common
control that is included in a section 112(c) source category or subcategory for
which a section 112(d) standard or other relevant standard is established pursuant
to section 112 of the Act. Each relevant standard will define the ``affected
source,'' as defined in this paragraph unless a different definition is warranted
based on a published justification as to why this definition would result in
significant administrative, practical, or implementation problems and why the
different definition would resolve those problems. The term ``affected source,'' as
used in this part, is separate and distinct from any other use of that term in EPA
regulations such as those implementing title IV of the Act. Affected source may
be defined differently for part 63 than affected facility and stationary source in
parts 60 and 61, respectively. This definition of ``affected source,'' and the
procedures for adopting an alternative definition of ``affected source,'' shall apply
to each section 112(d) standard for which the initial proposed rule is signed by the
Administrator after June 30, 2002.”

• Major source from 40 CFR 63.2


“Major source means any stationary source or group of stationary sources located
within a contiguous area and under common control that emits or has the potential
to emit considering controls, in the aggregate, 10 tons per year or more of any
hazardous air pollutant or 25 tons per year or more of any combination of
hazardous air pollutants, unless the Administrator establishes a lesser quantity, or
in the case of radionuclides, different criteria from those specified in this
sentence.”

SPCC

The definition of facility used when creating SPCC Plans is contained in 40 CFR 112.2:

“Facility means any mobile or fixed, onshore or offshore building, structure,


installation, equipment, pipe, or pipeline (other than a vessel or a public vessel)
used in oil well drilling operations, oil production, oil refining, oil storage, oil
gathering, oil processing, oil transfer, oil distribution, and waste treatment, or in
which oil is used, as described in Appendix A to this part. The boundaries of a
facility depend on several site-specific factors, including, but not limited to, the
ownership or operation of buildings, structures, and equipment on the same site
and the types of activity at the site.”

April 6, 2006 28