Cleanup Continues of New Haven Power Station Oil Leak

Coast Guard and CT DEEP used oil boom to contain any possible oil that may leak into the water.
Coast Guard and CT DEEP used oil boom to contain any possible oil that may leak into the water.

Coast Guard personnel from Sector Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Strike Team are continuing to oversee the cleanup and removal of pollutants and hazardous materials from the closed English Station powerplant in New Haven, CT, and estimate that their objectives could be met by the end of the month.

Coast Guard and CT DEEP oversea contractors who are entering and exiting the English Station Facility. Photo/U.S. Coast Guard.
Coast Guard and CT DEEP oversea contractors who are entering and exiting the English Station Facility. Photo/U.S. Coast Guard.

In September, the Coast Guard and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) discovered oil leaking from within the facility and into external storm drains that fed into Long Island Sound.

Upon entering the facility, workers found a 500-gallon tank holding approximately 200 gallons of hydraulic oil. A sight glass on the tank was broken, allowing the oil to flow onto the facility floor. Sample testing confirmed that the tank was the source of the oil found outside the facility and in the storm drains.

“Despite over half of the product leaking from the tank over time, we believe very little actually made it into the drains and the waterway,” said Lt. Joe Smith, a member of Sector Long Island Sound’s Incident Management Division.

Since an oil boom was deployed around the facility, various small sheens have been discovered within the boomed area. Those sheens were unrecoverable and dissipated quickly.

Drums of oil and other pollutants were found within the English Station Facility.
Drums of oil and other pollutants were found within the English Station Facility.

Since completing initial product and site safety testing, the Coast Guard has overseen private contractors in the cleanup and removal of the pollutants. Oil inside and outside of the facility was controlled using emulsifiers and stored in drums for removal. The contractors will remove approximately 14 drums of transformer oil and approximately 160 drums of pollutant and cleanup equipment. Four drums of hazardous chemicals and 21 tanks of various compressed gasses will also be decontaminated and disposed of in accordance with State of Connecticut and Federal Regulations.

As part of the final phase of cleanup, contractors will permanently seal the storm drains with concrete to ensure that they will no longer be a source of entry into the waterway.

“The Coast Guard’s objective is to locate, secure, and remove serious and substantial threats to the marine environment and to put measures in place to ensure safety to the marine environment moving forward,” said Capt. Ed Cubanski, the commanding officer of Sector Long Island Sound. “Once our objectives are complete, the facility will remain under the oversight of CT DEEP for long-term remediation.”