Oil Release in Churchill Falls Switchyard Resulting from Transformer Failure and Fire on October 29

October 30th, 2020

As a result of a transformer failure and fire at the Churchill Falls switchyard at 8:30 p.m. Labrador time on October 29, 2020, some oil contained within the transformer has been released in the immediate area of the switchyard. The environment team accessed the site when it was safe to do so and the Churchill Falls team worked to contain the release where possible and is assessing the dispersion of the oil. The oil released, known as Voltesso, is an oil product used in transformers which is biodegradable but over a long time period.

A spill response team was activated and helicopter patrol is underway to assess the potential dispersion of the oil. Booms have been deployed on the Churchill River to pro-actively contain any potential oil dispersion and mitigate.

The transformer holds 53,000 litres of oil; however, crews are currently assessing the volume that may have been released and working to contain while developing a clean-up plan. The spill has been reported to the appropriate regulators and crews are preparing for clean-up and containment.

We will provide more information as it is available.


Media Contact:

Cherylynn Downer

Communications & Community Relations Advisor

t.709.925.8217 c.709.280.2805