An existing spill prevention and response program is described utilizing staff of the state Water Resources Administration to enforce explicit oil pollution control laws and regulations, provide response to and assistance in oil spill containment and cleanup, and foster spill prevention attitudes and techniques. Special equipment designed and constructed by agency staff is detailed. Legislative history, state laws and regulations on oil spill prevention, and the Maryland oil industry are described as introduction to the spill prevention and control program itself.

Emphasis is placed on spill prevention, based on the slogan, β€œThe best oil pollution control is the spill that never happened.”

Maryland petroleum industry representatives are directly involved in this program. With industry support, the state enacted in 1972 legislation establishing a schedule of licenses and license fees for oil terminal facilities, which must have an adequate spill control program.

The Maryland Oil Disaster Containment, Cleanup and Contingency Fund is supported by license fees charged on an annual basis on oil storage facilities with storage capability greater than 3,000 barrels. The fees produce approximately $250,000 a year for use in spill prevention, control, and cleanup measures.

Using a small staff, the Maryland Water Resources Administration has established an oil spill response program complete with (a) 24-hour, seven-day-a-week response capability to spills of oil and other hazardous materials, (b) construction and development of specially equipped oil spill control units, and (c) the stockpiling throughout the state of equipment and supplies for spill containment and removal. Local fire departments, which are mostly volunteer in the state, are an essential part of the oil spill response team. Other state agencies are also involved, with the total program coordinated by an oil spill coordinator and a staff of four.

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