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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The drought in Washington has worsened and now nearly half the state is facing water supply hardships. Snowpack is less than 50% of average. Rainfall is below normal (even with recent rain). Warmer, drier weather is projected this summer. You can get the latest details on climate, snowpack and water supplies on our drought web page. Visit ecology.wa.gov/drought ...

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A plankton bloom that looks like tomato soup is sprawled from Tacoma to Edmonds. Our marine science team has been out documenting the Noctiluca bloom. Our experts share more in this video. ...

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4 days ago

Washington Department of Ecology

Ecology Director Maia Bellon is in Washington D.C. this week to be a voice for #PugetSound. It's the heart of our great state. Help us show Congress how important it is to #SaveOurSound with your likes and shares! Puget Sound is a national treasure!

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When great partners come together, amazing results are possible! Thank you, Seattle City Light for collaborating with us to get much needed water to more than 400 Skagit and Snohomish residents. Want to know more? Read our news release: bit.ly/2VKFUzK ...

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‪Our flight over Puget Sound confirmed a large Noctiluca plankton bloom from Tacoma to Edmonds. It’s non-toxic but not advisable to swim in. This bloom is earlier than usual, likely because of the recent sunny conditions. #PugetSound #environmentalscience #SalishSea ‬ ...

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