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Toxics Cleanup Program

Hazardous Substance Tax

MTCA’s legacy: two decades of cleaning up toxic sites, preventing future ones

In 1988, Washington voters passed Initiative 97, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The act specifically authorized funding for a broad range of toxic cleanup, management and prevention purposes and anticipated the need to respond to new threats from toxic materials. To do this work, the voters authorized a tax on hazardous materials including petroleum products, pesticides, and some chemicals.  Today, more than two decades later, there continues to be broad public support for a wide range of programs to clean up hazardous waste sites and address specific toxic threats to public health and the environment.

MTCA spending formula

MTCA specifies how the revenue from the hazardous substance tax is distributed and spent. The funds are dedicated to a broad range of pollution prevention, management, and cleanup activities at the state and local level.  Until 2013, the revenue was split between the State Toxics Control Account (47%) and the Local Toxics Control Account (53%).

In 2013, the Legislature made significant changes to these funding provisions.  The total revenue deposited into STCA and LTCA is capped at $140 million for each fiscal year.  Revenues below that amount are split 56% for STCA and 44% for LTCA.  Revenues above that amount are deposited in a new account called the “Environmental Legacy Stewardship Account” (ELSA).  For more information about the legislative changes, see:

Taxpayer information

The Department of Revenue (DOR) administers the Hazardous Substance Tax.  Ecology helps both DOR and taxpayers determine whether particular products and substances are subject to the Tax.  For more taxpayer information, go to the DOR’s Hazardous Substance Tax web site.

Relevant laws

For more information

This page last updated October 1, 2015