The Toxics Cleanup Program (TCP) operates under two major sets of laws that govern:
- Contaminated site cleanups and
- Underground storage tanks and their operation, for tanks containing petroleum or other hazardous substances.
Our authority begins when the Washington State Legislature passes a bill or Washington voters pass an initiative. Rules fill in the details and help make statutes work for the majority of people. On this page, we've collected all Toxics Cleanup Program statutes and rules that direct our cleanup work.
Statutes, regulations, and rules: what’s the difference?
Statutes are passed by the Legislature in bills or by voters in initiatives. Although statutes can get long, they usually don't fill in all the details, and rulewriters can't always anticipate how statutes will work. Agencies like ours are not only responsible for carrying out statutes, but filling in the gaps and dealing with the unexpected by promulgating rules.
Regulations are also called rules. Rules can't change statutes, but they can clarify things found in statutes that are unclear or confusing. Washington's Legislature and voters can always change rules they don’t like by passing new bills or initiatives.
What are RCWs and WACs?
Statutes and rules are bound and coded in two separate publications. People often refer to "RCW" or "WAC" when discussing:
Which one is “the law?”
All of them! Statutes, rules, and the court decisions that interpret them are all parts of “the law.” Since rules are usually more specific than statutes, they're a good place to start when you're figuring out what the law says you can or must do. All of the Toxics Cleanup Program's statutes and rules are found in the table below.