Tank Monitoring And Spill Prevention Made Easy

Tank monitoring is important for both municipalities and oil & gas operators, but it seems more complex than it is. Here’s how to do it the easy way. 

What Is A Spill Prevention Plan?

A Spill Prevention Plan outlines the steps that an operator (whether a government contractor, entity or oil & gas provider) must follow to demonstrate precautions the company has taken to reduce or eliminate the threat of an environmental incident. 

Creating an SPCC plan is in part about compliance, operators must have them when storing any reasonable quantities of hazardous fluid, but also about preparedness. Guidelines like a spill prevention plan ensure the company has taken steps to reduce the potential for a spill, and knows what to do if and when a spill occurs. 

EPA SPCC Fact Sheet

The EPA provides a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) fact sheet that helps operators understand whether their facility (storage, gathering, or use) is subject to the rules and regulations of the agency’s protocols. 

For the avoidance of doubt, many farms are excluded from the guidelines even though they often store large quantities of oil, diesel, and other hazardous chemicals. 

The EPA’s simple guidelines follow a flow chart of yes and no answers that help operators know whether they are subject to the regulations. 

Most of the agency’s concern pertains to navigable waters. Above Ground Storage Tanks also have stricter regulations to follow with lower thresholds than those below ground (buried.) 

All of this is found in the EPA’s 40 CFR 280 or 281. 

How Do I Use Tank Monitoring For Spill Prevention?

Tank monitoring, especially those that use smart technology, can be an important factor in any SPCC plan. Demonstrating that the operator not only measures the tank level but also that the system is set up to stop pumping (through use of a Smart POC – pump-off controller) shows a level of control that exceeds the requirements of the law. 

Part of the spill prevention plan is showing that mechanisms exist within an operator’s system to avoid spills, automatically, rather than relying on patient, and diligent management to physically maintain levels of their product. 

How Expensive Is Tank Monitoring Equipment?

Many systems, like SCADA, can be very expensive sometimes running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Reign offers a very affordable tank monitoring system that allows reporting of detailed information for less than a thousand dollars. 

However, when combined with Reign’s Smart POC for less than $3,000 to acquire (and a low monthly data transmission cost) the combined system goes beyond simply monitoring and can actively shut off pumps that feed tanks. Automating this software provides safeguards to your system, assists in compliance with EPA SPCC plans, and makes a more efficient operation. According to customer studies, most tank monitoring systems pay themselves off in less than a year, even for marginal wells.