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Contingency Plans

Last Updated 06/23/2014

Washington Administration Code (WAC) Chapter 173-182 requires larger oil handling facilities, pipelines and commercial vessels to have state approved oil spill contingency plans that describe their ability to respond to oil spills. Currently there are 30 plan holders that operate under these regulations. You can view these plan holders and see their plan approval dates by clicking here.

A contingency plan is like a “game plan,” that outlines what is necessary to ensure a rapid, aggressive and well coordinated response to an oil spill. Critical elements of these plans include:

  • Notification and call out procedures to ensure response teams and resources are activated immediately.

  • Identification of spill management teams necessary to manage a spill or incident response.

  • Analysis of the planning standards and worst case spill volume to assess the necessary response needs.

  • Appropriate response equipment and personnel to respond to a worst case spill.

  • Identification of oil types and properties.

  • Contracts with primary response contractors to provide response equipment and personnel necessary to respond.

  • Commitment for drills to test the plan.

Meeting the applicable planning standard requires a company to clearly demonstrate they have access to oil spill response equipment including boom, recovery and storage necessary to contain and clean-up the oil. The amount and type of response equipment is typically based on a worst case spill (WCS) volume for company operations. Plan holders often use Primary Response Contractors (PRCs) to provide response equipment and response support teams. The adequacy of contingency plans in tested through scheduled and unannounced drills.

The Northwest Area Contingency Plan forms the structure of planning in Washington.


When a new plan is submitted to Ecology for review, it is made available for a 30-day public comment period. You can go to the Contingency Plan Review and Public Comment page for information on which plans are currently available for review. Also on the Contingency Plan Review and Public Comment page, you may see reviews completed by Ecology and comments received from the public. If you would like to be notified when plans are available for public review, you may join our contact list in the following ways:

  • Washington State government LISTSERV. You will also receive updates on news and information related to oil spill issues.
  • Contact Linda Helmick at (360) 407-7452 or lihe461@ecy.wa.gov.

Contingency Plans Home Page

State-Approved Contingency Plans

Contingency Plan Review & Public Comment

For Facility & Vessel Plan Holders

Coming Soon!
For Vessel Owners/Operators & Agents

New!
Oil Spill Contingency Plan Rule
Chapter 173-182 WAC

Vessel Oil Spill Prevention and Response
Chapter 88.46 RCW

Oil and Hazardous Substance Spill Prevention and Response
Chapter 90.56 RCW

Focus On:
Western Response Resource List

Planning Standards Guidance
Evaluating Contingency Plan Holder Planning Standards

Sean Orr
Plan Development Lead
360-407-7420

Linda Pilkey-Jarvis
Preparedness Section Manager
360-407-7447