Corps spills 100 gallons of oil at Bonneville Dam, removes unit from service

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Monday, July 13, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) discovered a Bonneville Dam turbine thrust bearing leaked approximately 100 gallons of oil into the Columbia River.

The Corps is dedicated to rapid spill responses and is in the process of repairing the equipment. The generating unit is no longer leaking.

Corps officials notified partner agencies, including National Response Center, Oregon and Washington emergency management offices and the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission.

“We take oil spills seriously,” said Kevin Brice, Deputy District Engineer. “Anytime our hydropower professionals suspect a leak, they take immediate actions to remove that equipment from service,” added Brice. “Dam operators immediately begin spill cleanup and remediation procedures while technicians work to identify and repair the source of the issue; all of this takes place in very short order,” he said. “After an oil spill, we review our processes and procedures to address areas for improvement, training opportunities, and reporting needs.”

While performing weekly inspections, Corps technicians suspected the system was leaking, removed it from service and initiated spill prevention protocols. 

The generating unit will remain out of service and isolated from the river until technicians complete the repair process.

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