GRI photo identifier

2014 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Spills

Over 20 billion gallons of oil and hazardous chemicals are transported through Washington State each year by ship, barge, pipeline, rail, and road. Ecology’s Spills Preparedness and Response Program focuses on preventing oil spills to Washington’s waters and land, as well as planning for and delivering a rapid, aggressive, and well coordinated response to oil and hazardous substance spills wherever they occur.

Significant spills cause economic, health, and environmental impacts. Oil and chemical spills can threaten productive and valuable ecosystems, killing birds and marine life, contaminating beaches, shellfish and groundwater. Spills can threaten public health, safety, the environment, and ultimately damage the state’s economy and quality of life.

Data reflects spills to water with a quantity of at least 1 gallon. Sheens from unknown sources and product types are not included in the data set. Ecology's current data collection system requires manual sorting and contributes to some data quality assurance. The target is zero spills, consistent with the legislative mandate.

Spills in Washington State are reported to the Department of Ecology via a hotline call in number. Emergency responders who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are immediately dispatched to handle all reported incidents as defined by state law and policy.

Total number of significant spills: 456

Total volume of spills: 6956 gallons

*A significant spill is defined as one gallon or more.