Discover potential sources of hazardous substances:
You might be concerned about potentially harmful effects on your family, friends, employees, and customers. These pages discuss specific chemicals and their effects:
Information on specific contaminants
Yes. Real estate law requires disclosure of known contamination.
See: Sellers’ Disclosures - "Form 17", Chapter 64.06.020 RCW.
You might also consult a real estate attorney before buying or selling property with a history of contamination.
For emergency situations (spills of hazardous substances, drug labs), you should know as many details as possible — but report the spill even if you don't have a lot of details!
- Where is the spill or incident (complete address, directions)?
- What spilled? How much? How concentrated is the spilled material?
- Who spilled the material?
- Is anyone cleaning it up?
- Natural resource damages? (dead fish, oily birds)
- Who is reporting the spill? How can we contact you?
When reporting all other problems, you'll need to provide:
- Contact information about the person reporting the problem.
- Description of the problem and complete location information (address, directions).
- Information about who may have caused the problem.
Emergencies (spills, drug labs): Our Spills program, the Department of Health Drug Lab Cleanup Program, or your local jurisdiction will coordinate an emergency response.
Tanks (Leaking Underground Storage Tanks): Reports of leaking tanks are referred for an initial investigation. The investigator may visit the site to do an inspection or collect samples. If petroleum products or other hazardous substances are present at actionable levels, timely action is needed.
Other Incidents: We may contact you for follow-up information. Ecology will conduct an initial investigation within 90 days. The investigation may include a site visit or sampling. An initial investigation may lead to an emergency or interim action, site hazard assessment and ranking, or a "No Further Action" decision.
If a problem is not reported or resolved, it will likely become a worse problem later on. Things that might happen from an unreported problem include:
- The problem worsening, and costing much more to clean up later
- Harmful effects to your health (and others) and the environment
- If contamination moves off-site, owner(s) of neighboring properties may sue you
- Banks may deny loans to a prospective buyer, or loans to improve the property
- You may not be able to sell the property
- Fines or penalties may be levied (depending on the situation and which laws apply)
- We may take enforcement action against the responsible person(s)
- We may step in and do a cleanup, then try to recover costs from the responsible persons later