STARBUCK, WA – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintenance personnel disabled a turbine at Little Goose Lock and Dam after an oil leak was discovered, some of which was released into the Snake River. The turbine, which is located in the Main Unit No. 1 turbine system, is part of the dam’s hydroelectric generating system.
According to the Corps of Engineers, personnel are actively assessing the amount of oil lost and the duration of the leak. There are indications that between 300 and 600 gallons of oil have leaked in the last 90 days. The oil is not recoverable and there have been no identified splinters in the river. Technicians installed oil absorbent dams to catch any potential additional leaks.
The turbine was forced out of service and isolated from the river during repairs.
“As stewards of the environment, our goal is to react quickly and decisively when responding to oil leaks,” Walla Walla District Operations Division Chief Paul Ocker said. “Our team at Little Goose Dam have taken appropriate action to decommission the turbine, assess and contain the leak. The turbine will remain out of service and isolated from the river until repaired.
The district has notified the appropriate regulatory and response agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, United States Coast Guard, Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, and Washington Department of Ecology.