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Preparing for oil and hazardous materials spills

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.

Several people with cameras video recording a vessel deploying boom in water.

We require industry to practice their oil spill contingency plans with equipment deployment 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:

In training and practicing to test plans, we:

In researching effective response technology, we: 

Rules directing our preparedness work