Contingency planning for oil industry
We require oil-handling operations — such as facilities, pipelines, large commercial vessels, and railroads — to have oil spill contingency plans that detail how they would respond to oil spills. We review the plans and test them in complex deployment and tabletop drills as part of our public service.
Oil spill contingency planning
Washington state requires larger oil-handling facilities, pipelines, commercial vessels, and railroads to have state-approved oil spill contingency plans. These plans describe the plan holder's ability to respond to oil spills. Plans include information on spill response procedures, equipment, safety, communications, and training.
Each company is required to develop, maintain, and test their contingency plan. We review and approve plans on a five-year cycle. The oil spill contingency plan rule requires a 30-day public review and comment period for plan updates.
All railroads carrying oil as cargo must submit and maintain an oil spill contingency plan. Updates to Chapter 173-186 WAC became effective on January 18, 2020. The phase-in date for current plan holders is June 18, 2021.
- Please contact Matt Bissell if you have questions for facility contingency plan in accordance with Chapter 173-186 WAC, Oil Spill Contingency Plan – Railroad
- Contingency Plan Boilerplate/Template
A contingency plan must be submitted for review and approval at least 65 days prior to the beginning of operations at a new facility. Facilities with an approved contingency plan must resubmit the plan for review and approval every five years.
All tank vessels and large commercial vessels greater than 300 gross tons are required to develop, maintain, and practice their contingency plan, or sign up with an approved Washington state umbrella plan.
- State-approved plans See a list of current plan holders and staff contacts for each plan.
- Neah Bay Emergency Response Towing Vessel (ERTV) Learn more about the emergency response towing vessel and how it is used.
- Technical manual Vessels with contingency plans are required to have a technical manual.
Class 2 mobile facilities are required to operate under an approved oil transfer response plan. Class 2 facilities must prepare and submit their response plan at least 90 days prior to conducting the first transfer operation to a non-recreational vessel. The below tools have been developed to assist mobile facilities in their development of their plan.
- Class 2 Mobile Facility Response Plan Boilerplate
- Binding Agreement
- Mobile Facility Plan Review Checklist
Approved response plans are valid for five years. Facilities with an expiring approval must submit an updated plan for re-approval, or a letter asking us to review and re-approve the existing plan, at least 90 days before expiration.
Rules (WACs) and laws (RCWs) governing contingency planning
- Oil spill contingency plan rule, Chapter 173-182 WAC
- Vessel oil spill prevention and response, Chapter 88.46 RCW
- Oil and hazardous substance spill prevention and response, Chapter 90.56 RCW
- Oil movement by rail and pipeline notification, Chapter 173-185 WAC
- Oil spill contingency plan - railroad, Chapter 173-186
- Oil Transfer Response Plans for Class 2 Facilities, Chapter 173-180 WAC