Tag Archive: compliance

SSCI in Support of Armand Bayou EcoCamp

Educating the public on the importance of conservation efforts is key, and what better place to start than with our community youth. As a parent, I learned that teaching kids starts at home, and environmental awareness is very important as Earth’s population continues to grow and spread. I chose to enlighten my two children at Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Summer EcoCamp. They loved it so much last year that they wanted to participate again this year.  Armand Bayou Nature center provides for children ages 4-13 programs that encourage observation, problem-solving and creativeness in the natural setting of the wetlands. ABNC EcoCamp gets kids outdoors to demonstrate how wetlands affect humans and animals by featuring hands-on activities like seining at the bayou, pond dipping, and scat identification, which is very entertaining to school-age groups. My kids enjoyed the seining most of all because they caught a snail and made it their group mascot for the day.

Wetlands along coastlands, like here in the Galveston area, are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth because it provides a wide variety of food, nutrients, and shelter to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals, as well as migratory birds, but public knowledge needs to be increased. Wetlands function as a giant water filter, extracting harmful pollutants from the water that flows through them.  When it rains, wetlands help prevent flooding of rivers by holding onto excess water like a sponge; during a drought, wetlands provide water to surrounding areas to keep the trees and animals alive. Wetlands are also “Biological Supermarkets” because they support so much animal and plant life that are unique to this ecosystem. Humans are impacted by wetland functions in many ways; for example, they recharge underwater aquifers, a large source of the potable water we use and drink daily.

Environmental programs, such as those at ANBC, provide a fun and educational foundation to act locally, and think globally. If you are interested in sending your child to EcoCamp or would like more information,

please visit their website:http://www.abnc.org/education/summer-ecocamp.html

Detention & Retention Pond Inspections


The greyhound Takota is a former race dog who needed space to run! Takota is shown here running laps in a three-acre detention pond in Webster maintained by SSCI.

Read more about Takota in SSCI’s blog: A doggone good deed,


Separation Systems Consultants Inc. (SSCI) would like to remind you that the time is fast approaching to have your annual Detention/Retention Pond Inspection renewed to comply with your City’s Stormwater Enforcement Policy.

Retention Pond image

SSCI has worked with many Detention and Retention Pond owners in the City of Webster, the City of Clear Lake, and other municipalities on understanding and following the respective Stormwater Enforcement Policy. Our services include a pre-inspection, clean-up/problem consultation (if desired), a final inspection and a Professional Engineer’s seal, if applicable. This process allows you to become familiar with the components of detention pond “upkeep” that are required by the applicable city’s guidlines and policies.

Our Detention and Retention Pond services are detailed on our website at:  https://www.sscienvironmental.com/retention-detention-ponds/

Call or e-mail us for more information.

Protect yourself with a certified SPCC

If your company maintains a total aboveground oil storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons, or a total underground oil storage capacity of greater than 42,000 gallons located where there is a “reasonable potential” for a discharge to reach navigable waters, your company is subject to Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires SPCC plans in an attempt to prevent oil from entering navigable waters and adjourning shorelines, which can have a costly impact on the environment and your financial bottom line.

Of note: Aboveground storage containers with a capacity of 55-gallons or more are included in the aboveground capacity threshold calculation. Underground storage tanks regulated under 40 CFR 280 and 281 are not subject to the SPCC regulations. Neither are operations that exist to move oil from one location to another.

Oil of any type and in any form is covered, including petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil, fats, oils or greases of animal, fish, or marine mammal origin, vegetable oils and other oils and greases such as synthetic and mineral oils.

The trick can be determining whether or not your storage containers possess the “reasonable potential” for a discharge to reach navigable waters.” When determining that, consider:

  • The geography and location of your facility relative to nearby navigable waters such as streams, creeks and other waterways
  • Whether ditches, gullies, storm sewers or other drainage systems may transport an oil spill to nearby streams
  • The estimated volume of oil that could be spilled in an incident and how that oil might drain or flow from your facility and the soil conditions or geographic features that might affect the flow toward waterways
  • Whether precipitation runoff could transport oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines

You should not take into account manmade features such as dikes, equipment, or other structures that might prevent, contain, hinder, or restrain the flow of oil. Assume those features are not present when making your determination.

If you consider the factors described above and determine a spill can reasonably flow to a waterway, then you must comply with the SPCC rule by developing and implementing an SPCC plan.

Prepare and implement an SPCC plan that describes oil handling operations, spill prevention practices, discharge or drainage controls, and the personnel, equipment and resources used at the facility to prevent oil spills from reaching navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. Each company’s SPCC plan needs to be unique and specific to that company. But, some elements must be describe in every plan:

  • Operating procedures at the facility to prevent oil spills
  • Control measures (such as secondary containment) installed to prevent oil spills from entering navigable waters or adjoining shorelines
  • Countermeasures to contain, cleanup, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that has impacted navigable waters or adjoining shorelines

Every SPCC plan must be prepared in accordance with good engineering practices. Preparation of the SPCC plan is the responsibility of the facility owner or operator. Unless you meet certain criteria that allows for self-certification, your SPCC plan must be certified by a licensed professional engineer. The engineer will confirm the plan has been prepared in accordance with good engineering practices, including consideration of applicable industry standards, and with the requirements of the rule; procedures for required inspections and testing have been established; and the SPCC plan is adequate for the facility.

No matter who certifies your SPCC Plan, remember that ultimately the owner or operator is responsible for complying with the rule. A copy of the rule is available at www.epa.gov/oilspill.

If your company needs assistance with creating, updating or implementing its SPCC plan, SSCI can help. We’ve written or updated SPCC plans for a variety of client types, including more than 320 plans for the Texas Department of Transportation facilities.

Spill-prevention tips

A significant part of your SPCC plan will be focused on oil spill prevention. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Use containers suitable for the oil stored
  • Provide overfill prevention for your oil storage containers. You could use a high-level alarm or audible vent
  • Provide sized secondary containment for bulk storage containers, such as a dike or a remote impoundment. The containment needs to hold the full capacity of the container, plus possible rainfall. The dike may be constructed of earth or concrete. A double-walled tank may also suffice
  • Provide general secondary containment to catch the most likely oil spill where you transfer oil to and from containers and for mobile re-fuelers and tanker trucks
  • Periodically inspect and test pipes and containers. You need to visually inspect aboveground pipes and oil containers according to industry standards. Buried pipes need to be leak tested when they are installed or repaired. Include a written record of inspections in the plan