Application period open for oil spill equipment grants

Grants can be used for oil spill cleanup tools, training

When an oil spill happens, the success of cleanup is only as good as the equipment and training of the responders, and the time it takes to get on location. Ecology’s Spills Program provides grants to local governments, fire departments, and other first-responding agencies to ensure responders have the equipment they need to address any type of incident. Plus, having equipment available across the state reduces response times and improves the chances of success when disaster strikes. 
The application period for equipment grants is now open. Grants can be used for everything from air monitoring equipment to response boats, equipment trailers, communications devices, and drones. However, they also can be used as training funds for first responders, as well as single-use items like hazmat suits, absorbent pads, and firefighting foam. 
 “Spill incidents can happen in any part of the state at any time,” said Laura Hayes, Spills Program fund coordinator. “Through these grants, local responders can have equipment stationed near them, reducing response time, and limiting damage to the environment and public health.”
One recent notable spill response that benefited from the grant program is the Aleutian Isle sinking. On Aug. 13, 2022, agencies responded to the 58-foot sunken fishing vessel, Aleutian Isle, on the west side of San Juan Island. The ship was carrying approximately 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel and a combined 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricant oil when it went down. Over several previous grant periods, San Juan County fire departments and emergency management had acquired several pieces of equipment that was vital to the response effort, including a vessel trailer, personal protective equipment, containment boom, a truck for towing equipment trailers, radios, air monitoring equipment, and training for responders, among other items. 
A front end loader moving oil spill boom

Responders use heavy equipment to move oil spill boom on San Juan Island August 2022.

Responders used boom to contain fuel that escaped from the sunken vessel, and after a complicated incident that lasted over five weeks, the vessel was successfully raised from the seafloor. Without the equipment staged ahead of time, responders would have had to transport all the equipment from the mainland to the islands, costing money and time — vital to limiting environmental damage.

How can I apply?

Oil spill equipment grants are open to Washington counties, cities and municipalities, ports, public utility districts, special purpose districts like clean air agencies and fire protection groups, federally recognized Tribal governments, and Washington state agencies. Recipients of previous grant cycles are eligible to apply again. 
The application process is entirely online. Applicants can apply by setting up a Secure Access Washington account, accessing Ecology Administration of Grants and Loans (EAGL), and searching for our grant.  
We’re accepting applications now through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. For details on the funding guidelines, visit our guidelines page.

How are applications evaluated?

A group of Ecology staff, external agencies, and industry representatives will score the applications based on need and the risk of spill in the applicant’s area. Applications also are scored for coordinating with other response organizations, such as a county working with a fire department to purchase equipment. There are points awarded if an application demonstrates economic hardship or environmental health disparities in their area. 
Questions? Reach out to Laura Hayes at or 425-495-2632.