21-012 Little Goose transformer line fails: resulting oil leak is contained, no oil has reached the Snake River

Walla Walla District, Corps of Engineers
Published March 18, 2021

STARBUCK, Wash. – At approximately 2:15 today, the T2 transformer at Little Goose Dam had an oil loss as a result of an electrical incident: the oil was captured in secondary containment and it hasn’t reached the river.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District said oil recovery operations have commenced and cleanup efforts are underway. In addition, the Walla Walla District is investigating the leak to determine the cause of the failure and the actual quantity of oil discharged.

Corps officials notified the appropriate oversight agencies, including National Response Center, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the Washington Department of Ecology.

No units were generating through the transformer during this incident and none are suspected of sustaining any damage.  The impacted transformer is being evaluated for restoration or repair at this time.  Although, the T1 line is currently down, workers plan to bring it back up today.

Though the transformer is currently out of commission, a second transformer on site is prepared to transmit power if called upon by the Bonneville Power Administration.  Walla Walla District staff will identify possible spare transformers once further details of this incident are known.

Meanwhile, Corps officials said, “We are committed to identifying and correcting the system failure that caused this spill. We take our responsibility to keep oil out of the river seriously, and will do everything possible to mitigate the risk of further oil releases from our units."


Release no. 21-012