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Toxics Cleanup Program’s statutes and regulations

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.

Contaminated site cleanups: statutes and rules that describe how and when cleanups must be done.




Cleanup of Contaminated Sites
(Explains the cleanup process and standards.)

Chapter 70.105D RCW: Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)

Chapter 173-340 WAC: MTCA Cleanup Regulations

Chapter 173-204 WAC: Sediment Management Standards

Public Funding for Cleanup
(Describes what grants are available for remedial actions.)

RCW 70.105D.070: Toxics Control Accounts

Chapter 173-322A WAC: Remedial Action Grants and Loans

Revenue for Cleanup
(Explains about the tax that supports the Toxics Cleanup Program.)

Chapter 82.21 RCW: Hazardous Substance Tax

WAC 458-20-252: Hazardous Substance Tax

Chapter 82.21.020(1)(d) RCW Additional substances

Chapter 173-342 WAC: Additional Taxable Hazardous Substance List

Underground Storage Tanks: statutes and rules that explain requirements for operating an underground storage tank (UST) and cleaning up releases from USTs.




Underground Storage Tanks Program
(Explains the requirements for operating an underground storage tank system.)

Chapter 90.76 RCW: Underground Storage Tanks

Chapter 173-360 WAC: Underground Storage Tank Regulations

Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Cleanup
(Explains the special cleanup requirements for leaking underground storage tanks.)

Chapter 70.105D RCW: Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)

WAC 173-340-450: Releases from Underground Storage Tanks

Reinsurance for Regulated Underground Storage Tanks (PLIA)
(Explains Pollution Liability Insurance Agency’s (PLIA) reinsurance program for regulated USTs.)

Chapter 70.148 RCW: Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks

Title 374 WAC: Pollution Liability Insurance Agency

Insurance for Heating Oil Tanks (PLIA)
(Explains PLIA’s insurance program for heating oil USTs.)

Chapter 70.149 RCW: Heating Oil Pollution Liability Protection Act

Title 374 WAC: Pollution Liability Insurance Agency

Revenue for PLIA’s Programs
(Explains the funding source for PLIA’s programs.)

Chapter 82.23A RCW: Tax on Petroleum Products

WAC 458-20-281: Petroleum Products Tax