The Northwest Territories Power Corporation’s Snare Falls Hydro Unit was removed from service on December 10th as staff observed an oil sheen in the water while testing was being conducted on the unit.
A diesel unit at the Jackfish Generating Plant will provide backup power while Snare Falls is offline, if required.
The cause of the spill is still under investigation. Snare Falls was shut down for approximately three weeks in May of this year as the result of a similar situation.
The NTPC became aware last week that the unit was consuming a higher volume of oil than normal but that there was no evidence that it was being released to the environment.
As a precautionary measure, booms were put in place several weeks ago when maintenance work began to ensure that any leaks are contained.
Noel Voykin, President and CEO, NTPC says they expect to face ongoing challenges with maintenance of aging hydro infrastructure until the hydro fleet can be refurbished.
If anyone from outside the NWT is required to repair the unit, the NTPC say they will work with ProtectNWT to ensure that all required protocols related to worker safety are followed.
No timetable has been set for completion of the investigation and the costs of it are also unknown.