64K litres of oil spilled at Holyrood station

Rob Antle
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No external danger posed by November incident, officials say

A spill of roughly 64,000 litres of Bunker C oil at the Holyrood generating station posed no danger outside the facility, according to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

The spill - which occurred on Nov. 12 - was entirely contained within a floor area of about 230 square metres within the plant.

The Holyrood thermal generating station includes the generating station at rear as well as the transformer station that feeds the electricity onto the general electrical grid. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

A spill of roughly 64,000 litres of Bunker C oil at the Holyrood generating station posed no danger outside the facility, according to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

The spill - which occurred on Nov. 12 - was entirely contained within a floor area of about 230 square metres within the plant.

"There was no contamination to any water source, no oil leaked outside the plant - it was all contained within the Holyrood facility itself," Hydro spokeswoman Karen O'Neill said.

She said a cleanup crew from Crosbie Industrial Services was on site vacuuming up the mess just over an hour after the spill was discovered.

The amount of oil involved would fill more than six standard home-heating fuel delivery trucks, which have a capacity of roughly 10,000 litres.

The incident took place as Hydro prepared to get a unit back in service to meet winter power demand. The cause was traced to a loose valve.

Hydro did not publicly disclose the leak until asked about it last week by The Telegram.

O'Neill stressed that the spill was entirely contained within the plant on the plant floor "which is why we didn't do any kind of a public notice on it, because there was no risk of contamination outside the plant."

She said Hydro did immediately notify the Canadian Coast Guard and provincial Department of Environment, as per protocol.

Hydro uses roughly 300 million litres of fuel annually at Holyrood and its roughly two dozen diesel power plants in the province.

According to figures provided by Hydro, the November spill was by far the largest in recent memory.

For all of 2009, the company reported 12 spills province-wide. Excluding the Nov. 12 incident, the other 11 spills combined for a total of just 800 litres.

In 2005, Hydro recorded a low of three reportable spills totalling just 160 litres across its operations.

The recent high - previous to November's incident - was 2007, with 23 reportable spills encompassing 1,587 litres.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Crosbie Industrial Services, The Telegram Canadian Coast Guard Department of Environment

Geographic location: Holyrood

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Recent comments

  • Glenn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    For those of you who are not understanding the magnitude of this spill, 64K litres is 64-THOUSAND litres of bunker c oil. This oil is the thickest, dirtiest, heaviest and most contaminated grade of oil. Come to think of it, didn't Hydro have an adversiting blitz not long ago stating that they wouldn't burn this type of oil anymore?

  • wonderin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Wonderin where the Community Liaison Committee was during all this. No communications with the Community? What the....

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Matt if you took the time to read before commenting you wouldn't have stuck your foot into your knee it was a loose valve.As for the member of the 20% who gives a s%it as long as it was contained within there own building and didn't cause any enviromental damage.Now as for you heat and light bill going up if you can'y afford to pay for it then you need to evaluate how you spend your money, I bet you can afford beer though.

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    From what i understand,Danny's government knew all about this ,and kept quiet,But lets not say anything about teflon Danny now will we.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    ....Hydro did not publicly disclose the leak until asked about it last week by The Telegram.....

    November---6 months ago! So what else would we expectthem to say now, that there IS a possible problem? Another Newfoundland cover-up...just add it to the pile.

    If you spill a tank of heating oil at your house, they'll bring the hammer down and financially ruin you....but when the government itself does 500 times more damage everything is just fine, nothing to worry about.

    The deceive-and-avoid government mindset at Hydro is the same as at CNOLPB who oversee all offshore oil work. Think about that.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I suspect that if they admit to 64K litres, then the real amount may be at least 10 times that; isnt that the going rate for oil companies' spillage factor to truth?? or is it 100 times? 1000 times? c'mon experts, fill us in.

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    To the 20% as I said before who give a s%it it didn't get outside into the enviroment so why should I care or anyone else for that fact.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    note to DB...calm down! you attack like a Tory...my point is that we can't take for face value what corporations tell us up front...had this been released last fall, maybe, just maybe, an independant investigation could have take place, and, more likely than not, the actuals would have been a whole lot more than the company line. Be weary of statistics given to the public, the reality may be far worse. And, maybe Ministers Johnson or Dunderdale may want to weigh in on this issue with openess and transparency.

  • Matt
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    So, what caused it? Was 'Homer' asleep at the controls or what? I cannot believe that the officials at NL Hydro consider this incident to be 'minor'. All I can say is thank goodness that it wasn't radioactive isotopes that were spilled!

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Maybe they didnt release a statement about the incident until they were asked about it in order to avoid needless public outcry and scrutiny..... like they are experiencing here today. If you worked at a doughnut shop and some doughnuts were contaminated with spit, but the spit didnt affect anyone or pollute the environment because you cleaned the spit up, would you want the spit to hit the fan in the Telegram, giving you bad publicity even though you did your best to protect people from the spit in the first place? Lazy analogy I know, but they claim the oil has been cleaned up without environmental contamination, so who cares. And for those of you complaining about the fact that the oil being burned is sooo dirty and bad for the environment, turn your lights and heat off when you go home today and maybe they wouldnt need to burn so much oil to keep you in electricity......

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Hey member, big difference between 64000 and 640000 litres of oil. Maybe it was just 20% more than they actually stated......

  • Blair
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Hey Member. I call you that because that's what you are. Being open and transparent doesn't mean every thing that happens in every corner of the Province has to be reported to the public.

    If every unimportant story that you wanted to hear about was on the telegram online, we'd have to shift through stories about every unpleasant smelling BM Danny Williams has.

  • Candle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Great! I guess the next step is for NL Hydro to apply to the PUB for another rate increase... a little bit to make up for the lost fuel, a bit to cover the cost of cleanup and then a little extra just to pad the purse.

  • Glenn
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    For those of you who are not understanding the magnitude of this spill, 64K litres is 64-THOUSAND litres of bunker c oil. This oil is the thickest, dirtiest, heaviest and most contaminated grade of oil. Come to think of it, didn't Hydro have an adversiting blitz not long ago stating that they wouldn't burn this type of oil anymore?

  • wonderin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Wonderin where the Community Liaison Committee was during all this. No communications with the Community? What the....

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Matt if you took the time to read before commenting you wouldn't have stuck your foot into your knee it was a loose valve.As for the member of the 20% who gives a s%it as long as it was contained within there own building and didn't cause any enviromental damage.Now as for you heat and light bill going up if you can'y afford to pay for it then you need to evaluate how you spend your money, I bet you can afford beer though.

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    From what i understand,Danny's government knew all about this ,and kept quiet,But lets not say anything about teflon Danny now will we.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    ....Hydro did not publicly disclose the leak until asked about it last week by The Telegram.....

    November---6 months ago! So what else would we expectthem to say now, that there IS a possible problem? Another Newfoundland cover-up...just add it to the pile.

    If you spill a tank of heating oil at your house, they'll bring the hammer down and financially ruin you....but when the government itself does 500 times more damage everything is just fine, nothing to worry about.

    The deceive-and-avoid government mindset at Hydro is the same as at CNOLPB who oversee all offshore oil work. Think about that.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    I suspect that if they admit to 64K litres, then the real amount may be at least 10 times that; isnt that the going rate for oil companies' spillage factor to truth?? or is it 100 times? 1000 times? c'mon experts, fill us in.

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    To the 20% as I said before who give a s%it it didn't get outside into the enviroment so why should I care or anyone else for that fact.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    note to DB...calm down! you attack like a Tory...my point is that we can't take for face value what corporations tell us up front...had this been released last fall, maybe, just maybe, an independant investigation could have take place, and, more likely than not, the actuals would have been a whole lot more than the company line. Be weary of statistics given to the public, the reality may be far worse. And, maybe Ministers Johnson or Dunderdale may want to weigh in on this issue with openess and transparency.

  • Matt
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    So, what caused it? Was 'Homer' asleep at the controls or what? I cannot believe that the officials at NL Hydro consider this incident to be 'minor'. All I can say is thank goodness that it wasn't radioactive isotopes that were spilled!

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Maybe they didnt release a statement about the incident until they were asked about it in order to avoid needless public outcry and scrutiny..... like they are experiencing here today. If you worked at a doughnut shop and some doughnuts were contaminated with spit, but the spit didnt affect anyone or pollute the environment because you cleaned the spit up, would you want the spit to hit the fan in the Telegram, giving you bad publicity even though you did your best to protect people from the spit in the first place? Lazy analogy I know, but they claim the oil has been cleaned up without environmental contamination, so who cares. And for those of you complaining about the fact that the oil being burned is sooo dirty and bad for the environment, turn your lights and heat off when you go home today and maybe they wouldnt need to burn so much oil to keep you in electricity......

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Hey member, big difference between 64000 and 640000 litres of oil. Maybe it was just 20% more than they actually stated......

  • Blair
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Hey Member. I call you that because that's what you are. Being open and transparent doesn't mean every thing that happens in every corner of the Province has to be reported to the public.

    If every unimportant story that you wanted to hear about was on the telegram online, we'd have to shift through stories about every unpleasant smelling BM Danny Williams has.

  • Candle
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Great! I guess the next step is for NL Hydro to apply to the PUB for another rate increase... a little bit to make up for the lost fuel, a bit to cover the cost of cleanup and then a little extra just to pad the purse.