• Coast
  • Oil Spill


Discharge Cleanup Organization (DCO)

To ensure rapid and effective oil spill response, the Land Office Discharge Cleanup Organization (DCO) Program certifies private response contractors and organizations involved in the oil spill recovery industry as eligible for hire during an oil spill cleanup.

Prior to being eligible for hire, a DCO must agree in advance with the charges for services the DCO may provide and quality standards for the work to be done. Once approved, the DCO is placed on a job rotation list for an equitable distribution of state-funded jobs.

Entities having federal Oil Spill Response Organization (OSRO) classification may be certified by the GLO as a DCO with proof of OSRO classification.  Organizations exempt from DCO certification requirements but still eligible for state hire are entities whose primary business activity is vacuum truck services, earth moving or oil field equipment maintenance. 

To apply to become a DCO, download the Land Office certification packet located on the Forms page.  The packet should be completed and returned along with a Spill Response Plan to the appropriate Oil Spill regional office. An orientation/verification visit by a Land Office representative will take place within 60 days after acceptance of the application.

Vessel Removal

In 2005, House Bill 2096 granted the Texas Land Commissioner the authority to remove wrecked, derelict or substantially dismantled vessels and structures in Texas coastal waters. Removal of maritime debris promotes cleaner, safer water by eliminating oil sources and dangerous obstacles from waterways. Since 2005, the GLO has removed more than 950 vessels as well as structures such as the Zeus, an abandoned mobile offshore drilling unit that sat in the Freeport Ship Channel for 17 years.

The Oil Spill program also leads the highly successful Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP). Establishing partnerships with coastal counties, state agencies and oil spill cleanup operators, VTIP creates opportunities for boat owners to relinquish derelict vessels at no cost to the owner. VTIP events in Galveston, Brazoria and Matagorda counties as well as the cities of Corpus Christi and Galveston have resulted in 323 boats surrendered for salvage and 854 gallons of fuel safely disposed, including five 55 gallon drums of hydrocarbon waste. With the removal of 5,503.5 linear feet (more than a mile!), VTIP has resulted in a projected cost savings of $1.3 million for state and local governments.

VTIP events are planned as local partnerships are established and resources become available. Stay tuned for additional VTIP opportunities along the Texas coast.