29 wildlife deaths connected to Dominion oil spill in Potomac

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 15:52:59-05

RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Power was issued a notice of violation a week after taking credit for a spill event that occurred in late January, at Dominion’s Crystal City substation in Arlington County.

Oil sheen on Potomac. PHOTO by Dean Naujoks via affiliate WUSA 9

Oil sheen on Potomac. PHOTO by Dean Naujoks via affiliate WUSA 9

A transformer failure at the substation, located at 18th Street South and South Fern Street, released approximately 13,500 gallons of mineral oil, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, who issued the notice.

Reports of an oil sheen that extended from stormwater outfall locations at Roaches Run to downstream shoreline areas along the Potomac River, as far south as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, were made to the DEQ on Feb. 3, 2016.

The source of the oil sheen was traced back to mineral oil released from the Crystal City substation on Jan. 24.

Dominion announced on Feb. 12 that it is assuming the role of “responsible party” for the release and that they will continue to cooperate with ongoing requirements for investigation and corrective action.

DEQ’s notice of violation addresses the spill event and associated natural resource damage.

In addition to the impact on state waters, 29 animal and fish deaths were discovered.

The notice of violation is an initial step in ensuring that Dominion is held accountable for the situation, the DEQ said.

The State Water Control Law provides authority to require corrective action and to assess civil penalties.

In addition to the penalty, DEQ plans to seek cost reimbursement for spill response activities and natural resource damage.

As of February 19, oversight of the spill event has been transferred to DEQ by the unified command (Virginia DEQ, the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment, and the U.S. Coast Guard).

DEQ will continue to oversee the spill investigation and response, and it will monitor corrective action activities required of Dominion.