Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats

Animal fats and vegetable oils are regulated under 40 CFR 112, which has identical requirements for petroleum and non-petroleum oils. Petroleum oils, vegetable oils, and animal fats share common physical properties and produce similar environmental effects. Like petroleum oils, vegetable oils and animal fats and their constituents can:

  • Cause devastating physical effects, such as coating animals and plants with oil and suffocating them by oxygen depletion;
  • Be toxic and form toxic products;
  • Destroy future and existing food supplies, breeding animals, and habitats;
  • Produce rancid odors;
  • Foul shorelines, clog water treatment plants, and catch fire when ignition sources are present; and
  • Form products that linger in the environment for many years.

Scientific research and experience with actual spills have shown that spills of animal fats and vegetable oils kill or injure wildlife and produce other undesirable effects. Wildlife that becomes coated with animal fats or vegetable oils could die of hypothermia, dehydration and diarrhea, or starvation. Aquatic life may suffocate because of the depletion of oxygen caused by spilled animal fats and vegetable oils in water. Spills of animal fats and vegetable oils have the same or similar devastating impacts on the aquatic environment as petroleum oils.

Two rules apply to animal fats and vegetable oil spill planning and response:

Facility Response Plan (FRP) Rule

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

Facility Response Plan (FRP) Rule

EPA issued a revised FRP rule on June 30, 2000. The revision clarifies that the rule applies to facilities that handle, store, or transport mainly animal fats and vegetable oils. The rule also applies if they transfer large volumes of oil over water or store one million gallons or more of oil and meet additional criteria. The revised rule complies with the requirements of the Edible Oil Regulatory Reform Act (EORRA).

The revised rule provides:

  • Specific methodology for calculating planning volumes for a worst case discharge of animal fats and vegetable oils;
  • Separate regulatory sections for animal fats and vegetable oils;
  • Keeps requirements for the same three response planning scenarios (small, medium, and worst case discharge) as in the original FRP rule;
  • Adds new definitions for animal fats and vegetable oils; and
  • Differentiates between classes of oils by establishing new groups of oils termed Group A, B, and C, based on the specific gravity of animal fats and vegetable oils.

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Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

The SPCC rule provides requirements for different types of oil in response to the requirements of the EORRA. To make this change, the rule is divided into several subparts:

  • Subpart A provides the general requirements for all facilities;
  • Subpart B describes the requirements for petroleum oils and non-petroleum oils, except for animal fats and vegetable oils;
  • Subpart C describes the requirements for animal fats and oils and greases, and fish and marine mammal oils; and for vegetable oils, including oils from seeds, nuts, fruits, and kernels.

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