Preparedness means taking steps before an oil spill occurs to reduce impacts to people, the environment, and the state's economy. Washington has decades of experience in maintaining the highest regulatory standards for oil spill planning. In Washington, the oil spill community — which includes tribes; industry; and local, state, and federal agencies — maintains oil spill plans to ensure a level of preparedness in the region. We review and approve industry oil spill plans, provide technical assistance, and test the efficacy of plans through oil spill drills.
Oil spill preparation involves a continuous cycle of activities that capture lessons learned from spills and drills to improve oil spill contingency plans. In the Pacific Northwest, oil spill planning is part of a three-state effort to manage oil and hazardous material spills in a coordinated manner. The Northwest Area Committee has developed policies and tools for use by the oil spill community.
Our preparedness work
In planning for spills, we:
- Approve oil spill contingency plans, which includes planning requirements for facilities, pipelines, railroads, and commercial vessels.
- Approve primary response contractors, which are private companies or cooperatives under contract with plan holders for response equipment and personnel support.
- Approve spill managment teams, which are personnel trained to integrate into an incident command system or unified command system and manage an oil spill.
- Approve wildlife response service providers, which are companies with trained personnel who are qualified to staff and manage wildlife response activities during an oil spill.
- Provide contingency planning guidance for railroads, pipelines, commercial vessels, refineries and oil terminals.
- Develop geographic response plans for use in response to oil spills to water.
- Participate in the development of the Northwest Area Contingency Plan.
- Manage the registration system for volunteers and Vessels of Opportunity.
In training and practicing to test plans, we:
In researching effective response technology, we:
Rules directing our preparedness work