The federal government's strategy for responding to both oil spills and hazardous substance releases is contained in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, commonly referred to as the National Contingency Plan or NCP. The NCP outlines the steps that the U.S. Coast Guard and EPA must take when responding to situations in which oil is discharged into or upon the navigable waters of the U.S. or when hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants are released into the environment.
Several acts and regulations govern what products are authorized for use in an oil or hazardous substance response: Section 311(d)(2) of the Clean Water Act and Section 4201(a) of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 require the preparation of a "schedule of dispersants, other chemicals, and other spill mitigating devices and substances, if any, that may be authorized for use on oil discharges..." (300.905(a)). Subpart J of the NCP (40 CFR Part 300.910) governs the use of dispersants and other chemical and biological agents that may be listed on the schedule.
The EPA prepares and maintains this schedule, known as the NCP Product Schedule, which lists dispersants and other chemical and biological agents that may be authorized for use on oil spills. The Technical Notebook presents manufacturers' summary information on the conditions under which each of the products is recommended to be used. Both the Product Schedule and the Notebook were updated in June 2016, and are available on the EPA website.
What Products Does the Schedule Include?
The Product Schedule contains five product categories:
- surface washing agents
- surface collecting agents
- bioremediation agents
- miscellaneous oil spill control agents
Sinking agents and sorbents are not listed on the Product Schedule. Burning agents are addressed within the NCP but are not listed on the Schedule.
What Does It Mean to be on the Schedule?
The listing of a product on the Product Schedule means only that data has been submitted to EPA as required by Subpart J of the NCP. A product name listed on the Schedule does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of that product on an oil discharge.
How Do I Get a Product Listed on the Schedule?