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Emergency Response Program

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality prevents, plans for, and responds to spills of oil and hazardous materials.

Why Oregon needs an emergency response program

Spills can occur during transportation, transfer and storage of oil and other hazardous materials and pose a threat to public health and the environment. Once spilled into water, quick-moving currents and tides can cause the oil or other hazardous material to spread rapidly, impacting drinking water and air quality as well as animals and their habitats. 

Learn more about the Emergency Response program by reading the 2020 Emergency Response Report or listening to DEQ's podcast, GreenState, episode 6, In Case of Emergency, wherever you get your podcasts. 

stay connectedStay up-to-date on information about the DEQ Emergency Response program, sign up for our listserv through GovDelivery. Sign in or create an account and then click on Emergency Response in the Cleanup Program, Sites and Spills section. 

Oil Spill Contingency Planning

The Oil Spill Contingency Planning program reviews plans from petroleum facilities, pipelines, commercial ships larger than 300 gross tons and high hazard railways for an approval period of five years. When a plan has been reviewed it is posted here for public comment for 30 days. 

What does the Emergency Response Program do?

Large volumes of oil move across Oregon waters, along railways and on roads throughout the states. In 2021, the state's spill reporting line, Oregon Emergency Response System, received approximately 3,000 calls – half of them were responded to by DEQ. ​​

​Since May 2021, DEQ has been working with railroads subject to  newly adopted rules requiring railroads transporting oil to prepare spill response plans. These plans would be used in the event of an oil or hazardous material spill from a train. These regulations focus on rail lines that go along major waterways in Oregon. 

Learn more about oil transportation in Oregon​.


Media inquiries

Lauren Wirtis, Communications Manager, 503-229-6488

Program information

Wes Risher, Emergency Response Program Manager, 503-347-0092