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oce@tceq.texas.gov
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Spill Cleanups: Who Is Responsible?

Who is responsible for cleanup of a spill (such as a chemical release) and when the TCEQ may take over.

The person responsible for cleaning up a spill is:

  • the owner or operator of a facility from which a spill emanates;
  • the owner, operator, or demise charterer of a vessel from which a spill emanates; or
  • any other person who causes, suffers, allows, or permits a spill or discharge.

The TCEQ’s on-scene coordinator may determine that the responsible person is unable or unwilling to respond. In those cases, the TCEQ may take over the response action, using state funds as authorized. Texas Water Code 26.266 PDF   WORD Exit the TCEQ requires the TCEQ to seek reimbursement of state funds spent on cleanup from any and all responsible persons.

In addition, the TCEQ may pursue administrative, civil, and criminal penalties.