What to do if you spill oil or hazardous substances
Dangerous substances can spill to land, water, or air. The sooner a spill is reported, the sooner we can respond. Failure to report a spill you're responsible for could result in penalties.
If a spill occurs
- Stop the spill and warn others in the area immediately.
- Shut off any ignition sources, including cigarettes.
- Contain the spill.
- Report the spill immediately to:
- Washington Emergency Management Division at 1-800-258-5990
- The National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802
There are no penalties for reporting a spill unnecessarily, but there may be significant penalties for not reporting one.
Reporting different types of spills
|Type of spill||Reporting requirements||Required contacts|
|Oil and hazardous substance spills to water||
|Release of hazardous or extremely hazardous substance||
|Leaking underground storage tanks||
|Oil spills to ground||
|Spills to air||
Find an approved response contractor
If you spill, you will need to hire a state-approved hazmat or primary response contractor to clean up your spill.
Cleanup costs and assessing damages
If you spill oil or hazardous substances to state waters, in addition to paying for cleanup costs and claims from third parties, Washington may require you or your company to pay:
- A natural resource damage assessment.
- Reimbursement of the state’s expenses to respond, assess, and investigate the incident.
- A penalty for violation of Washington's law or rule.
A party responsible for a threat of a spill may still be required to reimburse the state for the cost of responding to the threat. For more information about each of these costs, review the information below.
- State costs for spills
- Assessing oil spill damage
- Vessel oil spill penalties
- Key Washington spill statutes
Laws and rules for spills
- WAC 173-303-145, Dangerous Waste Regulations: Spills and discharges into the environment
- WAC 173-182-260, Oil Spill Contingency Plan: Notification and call-out procedures
- WAC 173-340-300, Model Toxics Control Act—Cleanup: Site discovery and reporting
- RCW 70A.305.110, Hazardous Waste Cleanup–Model Toxics Control Act: Releases of hazardous substances—Notice—Exemptions
- RCW 90.56.280, Oil and Hazardous Substance Spill Prevention and Response: Duty to notify coast guard and division of emergency management of discharge