Nova Scotia Power making steady progress on recovering oil at Tufts Cove

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Nova Scotia Power making steady progress on recovering oil at Tufts Cove

August 14, 2018

HALIFAX, NSTwelve days after an oil leak at Tufts Cove, Nova Scotia Power and its environmental services contractors continue to work diligently on recovering oil that leaked from a pipe at the facility on August 2.

“Our immediate priorities following the leak were containment and clean-up, and we’ve achieved good progress to date,” said Mark Sidebottom, Chief Operating Officer at Nova Scotia Power. “Based on our assessments, 95% of the less than 5,000 litres of oil that left the site and entered Halifax Harbour has now been successfully recovered.”

Since the initial containment, Nova Scotia Power has completed work required to refine and validate estimates of how much oil has also been recovered from a containment trench below the pipe and the plant’s cooling water system.

In the first few hours following the discovery of the leak, Nova Scotia Power and its environmental response team were able to successfully recover more than 95% of approximately 9,900 litres of oil captured in the containment trench below.

Approximately 9,400 litres also entered the cooling water system of Tufts Cove Unit 1 generator. It is estimated that approximately 50% of this amount has now been recovered. Once priority containment and cleanup of the oil released into the harbour was underway, planning work began to address the cooling water system.

“We take our environmental commitments very seriously – we are undertaking a thorough clean-up of any contaminated areas and a significant number of people have been safely working day after day to ensure that we recover all of the oil,” said Sidebottom. “Simultaneously, we have a team of individuals leading a comprehensive root cause analysis as part of our investigation into this incident.”

Nova Scotia Power expects the clean-up effort will continue through to mid-September, particularly as the efforts moves into the more meticulous shoreline work. In addition to the clean-up itself personnel are onsite actively monitoring for birds and mammals to shoo them away. They are using noisemakers as a deterrent to keep wildlife from the area - ensuring birds and mammals don’t become fouled with oil is a key priority.

Containment booming will remain in the water adjacent to the plant throughout the final phases of work on the shoreline as a precaution, and personnel will be monitoring for any residual oil sheen.

The Tufts Cove Generating Station is a 500 megawatt facility first constructed in the 1960’s that can operate on natural gas or heavy fuel oil.