88.46.050  <<  88.46.060 >>   88.46.0601

Contingency plans.

(1) Each covered vessel shall have a contingency plan for the containment and cleanup of oil spills from the covered vessel into the waters of the state and for the protection of fisheries and wildlife, shellfish beds, natural resources, and public and private property from such spills. The department shall by rule adopt and periodically revise standards for the preparation of contingency plans. The department shall require contingency plans, at a minimum, to meet the following standards:
(a) Include full details of the method of response to spills of various sizes from any vessel which is covered by the plan;
(b) Be designed to be capable in terms of personnel, materials, and equipment, of promptly and properly, to the maximum extent practicable, as defined by the department, removing oil and minimizing any damage to the environment resulting from a worst case spill;
(c) Provide a clear, precise, and detailed description of how the plan relates to and is integrated into relevant contingency plans which have been prepared by cooperatives, ports, regional entities, the state, and the federal government;
(d) Provide procedures for early detection of spills and timely notification of such spills to appropriate federal, state, and local authorities under applicable state and federal law;
(e) State the number, training preparedness, and fitness of all dedicated, prepositioned personnel assigned to direct and implement the plan;
(f) Incorporate periodic training and drill programs consistent with this chapter to evaluate whether personnel and equipment provided under the plan are in a state of operational readiness at all times;
(g) Describe important features of the surrounding environment, including fish habitat, water column species and subsurface resources, wildlife habitat, shellfish beds, environmentally and archaeologically sensitive areas, and public facilities, that are: (i) Based on information documented in geographic response plans and area contingency plans, as required under RCW 90.56.210; or (ii) for areas without geographic response plans or area contingency plans, existing practices protecting these resources used for similar areas. The departments of ecology, fish and wildlife, natural resources, and archaeology and historic preservation, upon request, shall provide information that they have available to assist in preparing this description. The description of archaeologically sensitive areas shall not be required to be included in a contingency plan until it is reviewed and updated pursuant to subsection (9) of this section;
(h) State the means of protecting and mitigating effects on the environment, including fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and other wildlife, and ensure that implementation of the plan does not pose unacceptable risks to the public or the environment;
(i) Establish guidelines for the use of equipment by the crew of a vessel to minimize vessel damage, stop or reduce any spilling from the vessel, and, only when appropriate and only when vessel safety is assured, contain and clean up the spilled oil;
(j) Provide arrangements for the prepositioning of spill containment and cleanup equipment and trained personnel at strategic locations from which they can be deployed to the spill site to promptly and properly remove the spilled oil;
(k) Provide arrangements for enlisting the use of qualified and trained cleanup personnel to implement the plan;
(l) Provide for disposal of recovered spilled oil in accordance with local, state, and federal laws;
(m) Until a spill prevention plan has been submitted pursuant to RCW 88.46.040, state the measures that have been taken to reduce the likelihood that a spill will occur, including but not limited to, design and operation of a vessel, training of personnel, number of personnel, and backup systems designed to prevent a spill;
(n) State the amount and type of equipment available to respond to a spill, where the equipment is located, and the extent to which other contingency plans rely on the same equipment;
(o) If the department has adopted rules permitting the use of dispersants, the circumstances, if any, and the manner for the application of the dispersants in conformance with the department's rules;
(p) Compliance with RCW 88.46.230 if the contingency plan is submitted by an umbrella plan holder; and
(q) Include any additional elements of contingency plans as required by this chapter.
(2) The owner or operator of a covered vessel must submit any required contingency plan updates to the department within the timelines established by the department.
(3)(a) The owner or operator of a tank vessel or of the facilities at which the vessel will be unloading its cargo, or a nonprofit corporation established for the purpose of oil spill response and contingency plan coverage and of which the owner or operator is a member, shall submit the contingency plan for the tank vessel. Subject to conditions imposed by the department, the owner or operator of a facility may submit a single contingency plan for tank vessels of a particular class that will be unloading cargo at the facility.
(b) The contingency plan for a cargo vessel or passenger vessel may be submitted by the owner or operator of the cargo vessel or passenger vessel, by the agent for the vessel resident in this state, or by a nonprofit corporation established for the purpose of oil spill response and contingency plan coverage and of which the owner or operator is a member. Subject to conditions imposed by the department, the owner, operator, or agent may submit a single contingency plan for cargo vessels or passenger vessels of a particular class.
(c) A person who has contracted with a covered vessel to provide containment and cleanup services and who meets the standards established pursuant to RCW 90.56.240, may submit the plan for any covered vessel for which the person is contractually obligated to provide services. Subject to conditions imposed by the department, the person may submit a single plan for more than one covered vessel.
(4) A contingency plan prepared for an agency of the federal government or another state that satisfies the requirements of this section and rules adopted by the department may be accepted by the department as a contingency plan under this section. The department shall ensure that to the greatest extent possible, requirements for contingency plans under this section are consistent with the requirements for contingency plans under federal law.
(5) In reviewing the contingency plans required by this section, the department shall consider at least the following factors:
(a) The adequacy of containment and cleanup equipment, personnel, communications equipment, notification procedures and call down lists, response time, and logistical arrangements for coordination and implementation of response efforts to remove oil spills promptly and properly and to protect the environment;
(b) The nature and amount of vessel traffic within the area covered by the plan;
(c) The volume and type of oil being transported within the area covered by the plan;
(d) The existence of navigational hazards within the area covered by the plan;
(e) The history and circumstances surrounding prior spills of oil within the area covered by the plan;
(f) The sensitivity of fisheries and wildlife, shellfish beds, and other natural resources within the area covered by the plan;
(g) Relevant information on previous spills contained in on-scene coordinator reports prepared by the director; and
(h) The extent to which reasonable, cost-effective measures to prevent a likelihood that a spill will occur have been incorporated into the plan.
(6)(a) The department shall approve a contingency plan only if it determines that the plan meets the requirements of this section and that, if implemented, the plan is capable, in terms of personnel, materials, and equipment, of removing oil promptly and properly and minimizing any damage to the environment.
(b) The department must notify the plan holder in writing within sixty-five days of an initial or amended plan's submittal to the department as to whether the plan is disapproved, approved, or conditionally approved. If a plan is conditionally approved, the department must clearly describe each condition and specify a schedule for plan holders to submit required updates.
(7) The approval of the contingency plan shall be valid for five years. Upon approval of a contingency plan, the department shall provide to the person submitting the plan a statement indicating that the plan has been approved, the vessels covered by the plan, and other information the department determines should be included.
(8) An owner or operator of a covered vessel shall notify the department in writing immediately of any significant change of which it is aware affecting its contingency plan, including changes in any factor set forth in this section or in rules adopted by the department. The department may require the owner or operator to update a contingency plan as a result of these changes.
(9) The department by rule shall require contingency plans to be reviewed, updated, if necessary, and resubmitted to the department at least once every five years.
(10) Approval of a contingency plan by the department does not constitute an express assurance regarding the adequacy of the plan nor constitute a defense to liability imposed under this chapter or other state law.


FindingsIntentReport2018 c 262: See notes following RCW 82.23B.010.
Effective date1995 c 148 §§ 1-3: "Sections 1 through 3 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [April 27, 1995]." [ 1995 c 148 § 6.]
Effective dates1992 c 73: See RCW 82.23B.902.
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