Spill prevention inspections for facilities

Facility inspections are a key component of our spill prevention program. While compliance with our rules is certainly an area of focus during our inspections, we also use these opportunities to provide technical assistance to the regulated community. By working with the oil-handling industry, we collaborate on innovative ways to satisfy rule requirements and strive toward a common goal of preventing oil spills.

Routine inspections of oil-handling facilities are a strong component of Washington’s oil spill prevention efforts. We conduct regular facility inspections to ensure use of good operating practices and compliance with our rules. While enforcement is one way to drive compliance forward, our facility inspectors strive to work with the regulated community to provide technical assistance with proper implementation of Washington’s spill prevention rules. We work hard to serve as a resource for the oil-handling community, with a focus on professional interactions with industry and our stakeholders.

Class 1 facilities

Refinery and marine oil-handling terminal owners and operators can expect our inspectors to reach out to them each year to arrange a site inspection, which typically takes two to three hours to conduct. We employ a team of licensed, professional engineers who have experience working in and with the oil industry to carry out our Class 1 facility inspections.


We inspect each facility and their oil-handing operations for compliance with their approved plans and our rule, particularly the Class 1 facility design standards called out in the rule. The frequency of our Class 1 inspections varies, but owners and operators can generally expect one formal site inspection per year.


These inspections usually involve:

  • On-site review of the facility’s inspection and maintenance records for storage tanks and transfer pipelines.
  • Visual examination of dock operations and equipment, transfer pipeline systems, above-ground storage tanks, and secondary containment measures.
  • On-site discussions between inspectors and facility staff at the time of the inspection.
  • Follow-up written correspondence to document findings and recommendations.

Class 2 & 3 facilities Class 4 facilities