Spills photo identifier

Spills Program


For information about the Washington State rule-making suspension, go to Ecology's Rulemaking Suspension Update page.

Regulatory improvement at Ecology is about continually improving our regulatory standards and decision-making processes.

Current Spills Rulemaking Activity

Ecology is beginning a new rulemaking for Chapter 173-182 WAC, Oil Spill Contingency Plan Rule. The rule requirements were last updated for pipelines in 2006. At that time the pipeline planning standards were developed to align with the marine terminal standards. In Washington pipelines exist in both marine and inland areas. After several years of implementing the rule, we have identified the need to update our standards to ensure that required oil spill response equipment is appropriate for the pipeline risks and operating environments (marine and inland). We also feel the need to better incorporate and embrace available technology and geo-referenced data in our planning requirements.

Ecology is beginning a new rulemaking for Chapter 173-185 WAC, Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline Notification. The proposed rule will create reporting standards for facilities that receive crude oil by rail, and pipelines that transport crude oil through the state. Additionally, the rule would identify reporting standards for Ecology to share information with emergency responders, local governments, tribes, and the public.

Ecology is beginning rulemaking to propose a new rule, Chapter 173-186 WAC, Oil Spill Contingency Plan – Railroad. Increased crude by rail transport has changed the risk picture for oil spills in Washington State. During the 2015 legislative session, RCW 88.46.010 and RCW 90.56.010 were amended to include railroads (not owned by the state) that transport bulk oil as cargo in the definition of “facility”, and RCW 90.56.210 was amended to expand Ecology’s authority to require state contingency plans for rail. Ecology was directed to develop rules establishing contingency planning requirements for railroads transporting oil in bulk. Contingency plans for railroads will ensure that first responders are aware of the locations of oil transport, oil response equipment, and are trained to respond in a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated manner.

Current Spills Rules

State Authority
Ch. 88.40 RCW Transport of petroleum products — Financial responsibility
Ch. 88.46 RCW Vessel oil spill prevention and response
Ch. 90.48 RCW Water pollution control
Ch. 90.56 RCW  Oil and hazardous substance spill prevention and response
Ch. 69.50 RCW Uniform controlled substance act

RCW 88.46.050, 88.46.160, 88.46.165, 90.56.220, 90.56.230, 90.56.300, 90.56.310


RCW 88.46.060-100, 88.46.120, 88.46.160, 90.48.080, 90.56.050-060, 90.56.210, 90.56.240, 90.56.270-280, 90.56.310-320


RCW 90.56.020, 90.56.350, 90.56.500, 69.50.511, 90.48.366, 90.48.367, 90.48.368

Index of Spill Related Rules
WAC 173-180 Facility Oil Handling Standards
WAC 173-182 Oil Spill Contingency Plan
WAC 173-183  Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment
WAC 173-184 Vessel Oil Transfer Advance Notice and Containment Requirements
WAC 317-05 Definitions
WAC 317-31 Accepted Industry Standards/Substantial Risk
WAC 317-40 Bunkering Operations
WAC 317-50 Financial Responsibility
Questions? Please contact Kim Morley 360-407-7040 or kim.morley@ecy.wa.gov