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Chapter 173-182 WAC

Oil Spill Contingency Plan Rulemaking - Pipeline



Sonja Larson


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On October 12, 2016 Ecology adopted updates to the Oil Spill Contingency Plan Rule.

The rule requirements were last updated for pipelines in 2006. At that time, the pipeline planning standards were developed to align with the marine terminal standards. In Washington, pipelines exist in both marine and inland areas. After several years of implementing the rule, we identified the need to update our standards to ensure that required oil spill response equipment is appropriate for the pipeline risks and operating environments (marine and inland). We also wanted to better incorporate and embrace available technology and geo-referenced data in our planning requirements.

This rule adoption updated the following:

  • Updated definitions to ensure clarity and consistency with existing federal regulations.
  • Clarified the Worst Case Discharge calculation for pipelines.
  • Created a new pipeline geographic information planning standard which will use available geo-referenced data to support preparedness planning and initial decision making during pipeline oil spills.
  • Enhanced our existing air monitoring requirements for pipelines to ensure safety of oil spill responders and the general public.
  • Enhanced our spills to ground requirements to ensure rapid, aggressive and well-coordinated responses to spills to ground which could impact ground water.
  • Updated our pipeline planning standard storage requirements to ensure the equipment required is appropriate for the environments pipelines may impact.
  • Expanded the Best Achievable Protection (BAP) Review Cycle to facilities and pipelines.
  • Other changes which clarified language and made any corrections needed.

Process of development

Ecology’s process for developing these rule amendments included gathering input from regulated pipelines, consulting with tribes, outreach to affected stakeholders and the public, and following formal steps for rule adoption. Review the rulemaking timeline, documents, and public involvement details using the links below.