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Dangerous Waste Spills

If you spill a dangerous waste or other dangerous material...

Immediately stop and control the spill by shutting valves, righting overturned drums, or doing whatever is necessary and possible to do safely. Dam spilled waste with absorbent materials to prevent contaminating drains or soil. Call emergency assistance immediately, if needed.  Immediately report the spill if there is a threat to human health or to the environment. Do this for a spill or discharge of any size that may pose a threat.

How To Report a Spill is the main Ecology environmental reporting page. It lists the numbers you must call and describes the information you should be prepared to give.

Generally, report a spill when any of the following occurs:

  • Anyone, as a result of exposure, seeks or requires medical attention or examination.
  • There is potential for the material to enter water, including surface waters, (such as streams, lakes, rivers and ponds), groundwater, storm drains, or ditches.
  • Illness, injury, stress, or death of fish, wildlife, or domestic animals.
  • A release to the air in enough quantity or concentration to harm people, animals, or plants.
  • A spill to soil that cannot be quickly controlled, contained, and cleaned up.
  • A spill inside a building or secondary containment area that escapes the confining area, such as through a doorway, crack, joint, or drain, and/ or if it threatens human health or the environment. 

If in doubt, report. Ecology normally considers timely notification to be within one hour of the spill’s discovery.

Responsibility for a Spill

Generators and dangerous-waste facilities are responsible, if the spill happens on their site. The transporter is responsible if the spill happens during transportation.

Plan for Emergencies discusses what emergency planning is required and what is recommended.

Related information

Find a hazardous waste service provider.

Focus on: Spill reporting under the Dangerous Waste Regulations explains spill-reporting requirements in some detail.

Spills and discharges into the environment is at WAC 173-303-145 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

Step 6 of 10 - Plan for Emergencies is an Ecology publication from the Step-by-step Fact Sheet for Hazardous Waste Generators. It explains how and why to plan for emergencies as they relate to dangerous waste.