21-013 Little Goose transformer fails: resulting oil leak is contained

Walla Walla Corps of Engineers
Published March 19, 2021

Starbuck, Wash. At approximately 2:15 Thursday, a transformer at Little Goose Dam had an oil loss as a result of an electrical incident: while some oil went into the gatewell, which is connected to the river, the oil was contained.

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 incident to determine the cause of the failure and the actual quantity of oil involved.

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 and Walla Walla District staff will identify possible spare transformers once further details of this incident are known.

The remaining transformer is functional and the powerhouse is in operation.

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.”

Little Goose is located at River Mile 70 on the Snake River.


Release no. 21-013