Department of Ecology News Release - February 26, 2014


Dunlap Towing fined for oil spill in Seattle

Ecology aims to protect waters via deterrence

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) recently issued Dunlap Towing Co. (Dunlap) of Everett a $13,750 penalty for an oil spill to Seattle’s Elliott Bay last year.

The Dunlap tugboat, Taurus, spilled 24 gallons of diesel fuel to the bay while refueling at the north end of Harbor Island on May 9, 2013. The company promptly reported the spill and organized a cleanup response that recovered all but 1.5 gallons of diesel.

"We appreciate the company’s prompt response to the spill and their cooperation during the investigation," said Dale Jensen, program manager. "But we all have an obligation to protect the environment, and this spill was avoidable by the twist of a valve."

Ecology strives to protect, preserve and enhance Washington’s environment and promote wise management for current and future generations. When someone pollutes Washington’s air, land or waters, Ecology enforces state and federal regulations in hopes of deterring future violations.

The agency considers several factors when deciding the amount of the penalty. In this instance, one of the factors included a $16,000 fine the company received for a similar incident in 2011. Penalties may be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

In a statement, Dunlap Towing Company said it deeply regrets this incident and has implemented many of the recommendations of the Department of Ecology and is continuing its efforts to address the causes of human error that resulted in this incident.

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Media Contacts:

Lisa Copeland, Ecology communications manager, 360-407-6990,
Dale Jensen, Ecology spill program manager, 360-407-7450;

For more information:

About the Spills program (

About Ecology’s penalties (