Spill response plans tell owners and operators of oil-handling facilities how to manage an oil spill incident. Washington state requires many large facilities, like oil refineries, to develop and maintain comprehensive plans, known as oil spill contingency plans.
We also require mobile facilities to prepare oil-transfer response plans for their operations. While smaller, non-recreational fueling operations aren't required to develop a plan for the state, the U.S Coast Guard may require one. We serve as a resource to help operations develop a strong spill response plan.
A spill response plan prepares a facility owner or operator to respond to an oil spill. There are both federal and Washington state requirements for oil spill response plans. We require an approved response plan for all Class 2 facilities operating in Washington. Federal response plans for marine transportation-related facilities are required and regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Facilities often elect to develop one plan to address both federal and state requirements in the same document, but the two regulations function as separate programs.
Requirements for facilities
For Class 1 facilities, we require preparation of a contingency plan to respond to oil spills.
Class 2 facilities must prepare and submit an facility response plan at least 90 days prior to conducting the first transfer operation to a non-recreational vessel. The Mobile Facility Response Plan Preparation Guide will assist owners and operators with preparation of a facility response plan. We review and approve Class 2 response plans, and our approvals are valid for five years. Facilities with an expiring approval must submit an updated plan for re-approval, or a letter asking us to review and re-approve the existing plan, at least 90 days before expiration.
While we do not formally require Class 3 facilities to submit a response plan for review, a federal plan may be required. These plans are regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Class 4 marinas are not required to submit a written response plan for our approval. However, they must maintain spill response equipment and train employees on spill notification requirements and response measures. In most cases, a written response plan will help owners and operators in complying with our rules. We strongly recommend that each facility develop a written plan.