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Water Quality photo identifier

Water Quality Program

Laws

Copper Boat Paint – New law in effect Jan. 1, 2018

RCW 70.300.020 - Antifouling paint containing copper

  1. Beginning January 1, 2018, no manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or distributor may sell or offer for sale in this state any new recreational water vessel manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, with antifouling paint containing copper.
  2. Beginning January 1, 2020, no antifouling paint that is intended for use on a recreational water vessel and that contains more than 0.5 percent copper may be offered for sale in this state.
  3. Beginning January 1, 2020, no antifouling paint containing more than 0.5 percent copper may be applied to a recreational water vessel in this state.

It’s Illegal to Pollute!

If you spill oil or a hazardous substance to state waters, you must call:

State Emergency Management Division at
1-800-OILS-911
and
U.S. Coast Guard at
1-800-424-8802


photo of Sensitive Shellfish Harvesting Area sign in a marina
Photo: absorbent boom collecting diesel fuel spilled in shellfish harvesting area

If you are found to be responsible for a spill, you may be fined up to $10,000 per violation. If you are found to be responsible for a negligent oil spill, you may be fined up to $100,000 for each day the oil poses a risk to the environment. Intentional oil spills can result in a penalty of up to $500,000 per day that oil poses a risk to the environment.

RCW 90.56.280: Any person spilling oil or hazardous substance “or otherwise causing, permitting, or allowing the same to enter the waters of the state, unless the discharge or entry was expressly authorized by the department prior thereto or authorized by operation of law under RCW 90.48.200, to immediately notify the coast guard and the division of emergency management.

You Must Clean Up the Spill

RCW 90.56.340: "It shall be the obligation of any person owning or having control over oil entering waters of the state in violation of RCW 90.56.320 to immediately collect and remove the same."

You Must Reimburse State Costs

RCW 90.56.360: "Any person who unlawfully discharges oil or hazardous substances into the waters of the state or who poses a substantial threat of discharging oil or hazardous substances into the waters of the state shall be responsible for the necessary expenses incurred by the state in carrying out a project or activity authorized under RCW 90.56.350."

You Are Liable for Damages

RCW 90.56.370: "Any person owning oil or having control over oil that enters the waters of the state in violation of RCW 90.56.320 shall be strictly liable, without regard to fault, for the damages to persons or property, public or private, caused by such entry."

RCW 90.56 - Oil and hazardous substance spill prevention and response

RCW 90.56.320: It is illegal for "oil to enter the waters of the state from any ship or any fixed or mobile facility or installation located offshore or onshore whether publicly or privately operated, regardless of the cause of the entry or fault of the person having control over the oil, or regardless of whether it be the result of intentional or negligent conduct, accident or other cause." A ship means "any boat, ship, vessel, barge, or other floating craft of any kind."

RCW 90.56.330: Any person who "negligently discharges oil, or causes or permits the entry of the same, shall incur, in addition to any other penalty as provided by law, a penalty in an amount of up to one hundred thousand dollars for every such violation, and for each day the spill poses risks to the environment as determined by the director.” And any person who “intentionally or recklessly discharges or causes or permits the entry of oil into the waters of the state shall incur, in addition to any other penalty authorized by law, a penalty of up to five hundred thousand dollars for every such violation and for each day the spill poses risks to the environment as determined by the director."

RCW 90.48 - Water pollution control

RCW 90.48.080: It is illegal for "any person to throw, drain, run, or otherwise discharge into any of the waters of this state, or to cause, permit or suffer to be thrown, run, drained, allowed to seep or otherwise discharged into such waters any organic or inorganic matter that shall cause or tend to cause pollution of such waters."

WAC 173-201A-020: "Pollution" means contamination or alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any waters of the state that render such waters harmful, detrimental, or injurious to the public health, safety, or welfare.

WAC 173-201A-240: The concentration of copper in marine waters cannot be above 3.1 parts per billion.

RCW 90.48.144: Any person who violates "RCW 90.48.080, or other sections of this chapter or chapter 90.56 RCW or rules or orders adopted or issued pursuant to either of those chapters, shall incur, in addition to any other penalty as provided by law, a penalty in an amount of up to ten thousand dollars a day for every such violation."

Report all spills to 800-OILS-911 and 800-424-8802

Resource Manual for Pollution Prevention in Marinas

Hull Cleaning Advisory

Department of Ecology boater education news release

Washington State Parks Boater Education