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US Army Corps of Engineers Takes Turbine Out of Service at Little Goose Lock and Dam

Photo by: Brigida I. Sanchez

STARBUCK, Wa. – Maintenance staff at Little Goose Lock and Dam have confirmed an oil leak in the Main Unit #1 turbine system, some of which was released to the Snake River. The turbine is part of the hydropower generating system at the dam.

Staff are actively assessing the amount of oil lost and the duration of the leak. There are indications that between 300 to 600 gallons of oil leaked over the previous 90 days. The oil is not recoverable, and there were no identified sheens in the river. Technicians installed oil absorbent booms to capture any potential additional leaks.

The Walla Walla District is dedicated to oil accountability and appropriate oil leak responses. The turbine has been put into a forced outage and has been isolated from the river as repairs are being made.

“As environmental stewards, our goal is to respond swiftly and decisively during oil leak responses,” Paul Ocker, Operations Division chief for the Walla Walla District, said. “Our team at Little Goose Dam took appropriate actions to remove the turbine from service, 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.