Avista assessing oil spill at Upper Falls Dam   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Spokane River, Hydro power, Electricity

This notice, re-published below, was just sent to local media concerning the accidental release of a lightweight lubricating oil at Upper Falls last night.

Spokane, Wash.  Oct. 19, 2009: Avista is working with the Washington Department of Ecology to assess and manage the accidental release of a lightweight lubricating oil at its Upper Falls Hydroelectric Development on the Spokane River.

The spill was discovered at about 7:30 this morning after operators at the powerhouse found an auxiliary bearing pump seal had failed during the night. Avista immediately implemented emergency spill procedures and began working with the appropriate agencies to begin clean-up measures as quickly as possible.

Initial estimates are that 50-100 gallons of the oil leaked inside the powerhouse building before it was discovered. Nearly all of the oil appears to have been contained within the powerhouse; however there is a small visible oil sheen on the river next to the powerhouse. Avista and Ecology have deployed a boom and that area is contained. They are now in the process of assessing whether any oil has traveled downstream.

The oil does not contain PCBs. Avista is not aware of any immediate threat to wildlife or aquatic life, and believes the spill does not pose a long-term threat to the health of the river. Avista will continue working with Ecology to mitigate any environmental impacts and will follow up to ensure that there are no lasting impacts to the environment.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2009.
 
Posted by  System Account  on  10/19/2009
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