By Tiffany O’Dell, Surface Water Management and Tara Emnett, Pierce County public information officer
Pierce County officials urge residents who use oil as a heat source to sign up for free pollution liability insurance offered by the state. The county is teaming up with heating oil distributors to provide informational flyers about the free coverage offered by the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA).
When a heating oil tank leaks, the owner of the tank is liable for all damages and clean-up related to leaks, which is generally not covered by homeowner insurance. In some cases, leaks extend to our waterways and Puget Sound, resulting in expensive clean-up costs.
PLIA is a state agency created in response to the 1995 Heating Oil Pollution Liability Protection Act. The agency, funded by an excise tax on petroleum, provides pollution liability coverage for heating oil tanks used by Washington residents. This insurance used to be unavailable through private insurers.
Councilmember Tim Farrell (District 4), who championed the idea of reaching out to homeowners, said of the outreach program, “It was a great idea brought to me by a constituent. I’m glad heating oil distributors are cooperating so that homeowners can take advantage of this free program.”
“The coverage offered by PLIA is a win-win for County residents, as it provides financial incentives to individuals and additional protection of our waters,” added Harold Smelt, Surface Water Manager for Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.
By signing up for free pollution liability insurance, heating oil users receive up to $60,000 in leak coverage for off-site clean-up. For more information or to sign up, call 1-800-822-3905 or visit www.plia.wa.gov.