Small Spills Aren’t Slick
Along with summer boating season comes an increased risk of smaller oil spills from recreational boats, which account for 75 percent of the oil dumped into local waters. The Washington Sea Grant Small Spills Prevention Program provides boaters with the knowledge and tools they need to stop oil pollution at the source.
Every drop counts!
Small spills introduce persistent, toxic oil into our waters. Even trace amounts of oil can damage marine life at fragile stages and threaten the vitality of aquatic ecosystems. Cumulatively, small spills can undermine jobs and recreational pursuits that depend on clean water. A single pint of oil spilled into the water can cover an entire acre of the water’s surface.
Certain compounds from oil – like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—persist in the environment and can work their way through the food web. This means the toxins from oil spills are absorbed by smaller animals and accumulate in larger animals. Even the smallest amount of oil can cause nerve and respiratory damage in marine animals, including Washington’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.