Mission Statement


Washington State is represented in the Oil Spill Task Force by the Department of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. The mission of the Program is to protect Washington’s environment, public health, and safety through a comprehensive spill prevention, preparedness, and response program. It focuses on prevention of oil spills to Washington waters and land, as well as planning for a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated response to oil and hazardous substance spills whenever they occur.

Spill prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program


Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act

In 2018, the Washington Legislature passed the Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act. Under it, E2SSB 6269 takes steps to enhance the safety of marine transportation and protect the state’s waters from oil spills. It places an emphasis on improving readiness to respond to sinking and submerging oils. The bill specifically directs our Spills Program to address multiple policy initiatives. We continue to carry out parts of the act, including planning for the next Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum, and writing a report on how the Spills Program is funded.


To address sinking and submerging oils, we are conducting rulemaking under the Act to update oil spill contingency plans, we are using oil spill drills to verify the updates, and we will be approving contractors that provide spill management and wildlife rehabilitation service under approved contingency plans


Our risk assessments help prepare and plan for response to oil-related incidents that could impact major waterways. By evaluating when and how oil moves through the state and the associated risks, we can make recommendations for cost-effective spill prevention measures while protecting public health and safety, the state’s economy, and the environment. We have recently completed risk assessments in Grays Harbor, the Columbia River, the Salish Sea, and for marine and rail oil transportation.

Response Grants

In 2018, we provided 25 oil spill equipment grants totaling $2.8 million to tribes, local fire departments, agencies, cities, ports and other public entities, giving their first responders the best tools to respond before we can get there. That year we also provided $80,000 in Coastal Protection Fund grants for projects funded by fines paid by companies or individuals responsible for spills. 


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For the past few months, Washington’s weather has been all over the map.

Residents of Spokane and the south east experienced a relatively damp spring, while much of western and central Washington have seen warmer than normal temperatures and low precipitation since April.

And while recent rain is helping many parts of the state, more than a few scattered showers are needed to fix Washington's drought.

Read on: ecologywa.blogspot.com/2019/07/wait-how-can-there-be-drought-when-its.html

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High levels of fecal bacteria have been detected in the water at Oak Bay County Park in Jefferson County. The public is advised to have no contact with the water. More on our blog: ecologywa.blogspot.com/2019/07/fecal-matters-water-contact-advisory.html ...

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Measuring flows in rivers and creeks is important especially during drought years. Field staffer Dan Dugger braves the chilly waters of Summit Creek just west of White Pass in Lewis County on Wednesday. Western WA is suffering unusual drought conditions and taking measurements such as these help us to predict water availability down stream. #WAdrought #LewisCounty #WhitePass #rivers #creeks #nature ...

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The US may have had the wettest 12 months on record, but in Washington areas experiencing drought conditions continue to expand, according to this week's Drought Monitor from
National Drought Mitigation Center. More on Washington's drought at: ecology.wa.gov/drought #WAdrought

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