Heating Oil Tank Leaks

Heating Oil

Confirmation of the existence of contamination or suspicion of contamination resulting from a spill or release of heating oil should prompt several pertinent questions:

  • What reports must be made, and to whom?
  • When does a cleanup have to occur?
  • What is the required level or standard of cleanup?

Heating Oil Fact Sheet

The Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) has created this Heating Oil Fact Sheet to provide an overview on how to address heating oil releases and to describe PLIA’s heating oil programs. Please contact Jeremy Richtmyre if you have additional questions.

Checking Your Heating Oil Tank for Water

The presence of water in a heating oil tank can indicate that the tank is leaking. PLIA has created this Checking Your Heating Oil Tank for Water document to provide some simple steps on how to check a heating oil tank for water.

Reporting Requirements

PLIA conducts Initial Investigations of heating oil tank releases referred to us by the Department of Ecology. During an Initial Investigation we gather information to determine if a cleanup is required under the Model Toxics Control Act, the state’s cleanup regulation.

You must report a suspected or confirmed release to the Department of Ecology by submitting a Statewide Environmental Incident Report Form (ERTS).

Regional Spill Reporting Numbers

Southwest Region, call 360-407-6300
Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum

Northwest Region, call 206-594-0000
Island, King, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom

Central Region, call 509-575-2490
Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima

Eastern Region, call 509-329-3400
Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman

If you believe the release is a threat to the environment or needs immediate action, please contact the Department of Ecology’s Spills Program, or your local health department. If the release has impacted surface water or groundwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, creeks, or storm sewers), you must also notify the Washington Emergency Management Division at 1-800-258-5990.

Cleanup Requirements

Chapter 173-340 WAC (Model Toxics Control Act – Cleanup) addresses the requirement for cleanup of contamination and the requirement to conduct remedial action necessary to protect human health and the environment.

If a cleanup is required, you can apply for technical assistance under our Heating Oil Technical Assistance Program.

If contamination from a spill or release from a heating oil tank does not pose an imminent or substantial threat to human health and the environment, cleanup does not have to be accomplished immediately.


You should keep a copy of all documents related to a heating oil tank cleanup, including copies of any lab analyses. We recommend you take photos throughout the process.