Containment and clean-up efforts continue following oil release at Churchill Falls

November 12th, 2020

On October 29, 2020 a transformer failure and fire at the Churchill Falls switchyard subsequently resulted in a release of oil. Nalcor’s Environmental Response Team was immediately activated and continues to work diligently in its response. Priority continues to be employee safety and the safe containment, control, and recovery of oil. Absorbent materials, booms, and Vacuum Trucks are being utilized for containment and collection. We continue to see no visible evidence of oil in the Churchill River.

Nalcor’s initial update estimated that the transformer held roughly 53,000 litres of oil. This transformer actually holds 111,400 litres; however, 65,000 litres was recovered in tankers in the switchyard. Taking recovery efforts into account, the total amount of oil released is now roughly 45,000 litres, some of which was consumed by the fire but cannot be quantified. It was earlier believed that due to the age of the transformer, the oil utilized was Voltesso; however, it has since been confirmed that the oil actually contained and released is Luminol. Luminol is more environmentally friendly and has a higher rate of biodegradability than Voltesso.

Significant efforts continue to be made by the Churchill Falls team who has been safely working together in these recovery and collection efforts with dedication and commitment since the onset.


Media Contact:

Cherylynn Downer

Communications & Community Relations Advisor

t.709.925.8217 c.709.280.2805