Regulatory guidance for oil industry

Our requirements for prevention and preparedness result in rapid and aggressive responses to oil and hazardous material spills, minimizing environmental damages and threats to public health and safety. Reporting, planning, and prevention requirements vary among oil-handling industries and are identified below. Each requirement listed links to more detailed information.

State requirements for facilities, railroads, and pipelines

Facility owners and operators should be aware that they are also subject to federal requirements that vary from state requirements. State prevention and preparedness requirements for facilities are established in the following rules:

The three rules classify facilities in different ways. Contact us if you're unsure of your classification.

Facilities

Requirement Class 1 facilities Class 2 facilities Class 3 facilities Class 4 facilities
Advance notice of oil transfer Semi-annual reporting
Oil transfers & transfer inspections  
Pre-booming, alternative measures, & equivalent compliance  
Safe and Effective Threshold Determination reports  
Prevention plans      
Operations manuals    
Facility inspections & site visits
Training and certification programs  
Response plans      
Contingency plans      
Oil spill drills    
Class 4 equipment requirements      

Railroads and pipelines

Railroads and pipelines are considered facilities for the purposes of contingency planning.

 
Requirement Railroads Pipelines
Advance notice of oil transfer   Semi-annual reporting for crude
Contingency plans
Oil spill drills

Pipelines

Pipelines are defined as facilities for the purposes of contingency planning.

Railroads

Railroads are defined as facilities for the purposes of contingency planning. Regulated railroads are:
  • Railroads transporting crude oil in bulk, regardless of the number of tank cars transported per year.
  • Class 3 railroads transporting oil in bulk that is not crude oil, 49 or more tank cars transported per year.
  • Class 3 railroads transporting oil in bulk that is not crude oil, less than 49 or more tank cars transported per year.

Facilities

Class 1 facilities are large, fixed shore-side facilities such as refineries and refueling terminals. This definition includes facilities that transfer to or from tank vessels and pipelines.

Class 2 facilities are mobile facilities, such as tank trucks and portable tanks.

Class 3 category of oil-handling facilities applies to small tank farms and terminals that transfer oil to non-recreational vessels that have a fuel capacity of 10,500 gallons or more. This definition does not include facilities that transfer to tank vessels and pipelines, as they are Class 1 facilities.

Class 4 facilities are marinas or other small fueling facilities that transfer oil to non-recreational vessels with a total oil capacity of less than 10,500 gallons.

Recreational vs. non-recreational vessels

Recreational marinas are marinas that serve recreational vessels ONLY and are not subject to the oil transfer requirements. Vessels are considered recreational if owned and operated only for pleasure with no monetary gain involved, and if leased, rented, or chartered to another for recreational use without monetary gain. Examples include house boats, ski boats, and other small craft on a rental or lease agreement.

If a vessel does not meet the definition of a recreational vessel, it is considered a non-recreational vessel. Vessels considered non-recreational are owned and operated for monetary gain. It also may be leased, rented or chartered to another and used for monetary gain. This definition is based on the vessel’s use, not its size. Examples of non-recreational vessels are: sightseeing or tour boats, passenger vessels, chartered fishing boats, boats used for parasailing, tug boats, etc.

State requirements for primary response contractors (PRCs)

We approve primary response contractors to allow them to be cited in industry oil plans. Our PRC webpage lists PRCs currently approved by the state, and details for those interested in applying to become a PRC.

State requirements for vessels

We have requirements and recommendations for vessels in Washington waters.