Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Who ya gonna call? 800-OILS-911

By Lisa Isakson, Community Outreach and Environmental Education Specialist

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “oil spill”? Do you picture the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with thick brownish-orange mats of goo and oil drenched birds? Or black-coated shorelines with people in white suits picking up tarballs or hosing down the rocks?

While those images are certainly true for large spills, the reality is that an oil spill can be as small as a couple drops of gasoline in water. While Washington state has not experienced a spill as large as the Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez, every day oil is spilled in Washington waters. Spills can happen at fuel docks in marinas, in storm drains along roadways, when boats carrying fuel run aground or sink, while transferring oil from large vessels, or during equipment failures at oil terminals. This chronic discharge of oil impacts Washington’s environment, economies, and public health.

What you can do
First, prevent spills from happening.

• Do not top off your gas tank.
• Fix oil leaks right away.
• Dispose of used oil at your county’s collection center.

Next, report spills when you see them! Call 800-OILS-911 to report sheens or other spills of hazardous materials to water. The sooner someone notifies us of a spill, the quicker Ecology can launch a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated cleanup response.

Earth Day every day

Earth Day is Friday, April 22. (And every day is a good day to inspire better habits for the environment!) Leading up to the big day, we’ll have additional blog posts about our work and how you can help protect the earth! Find it all on our social media channels by searching #EarthPassItOn.

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