Aborbent booms in Colquitz River near Columbine Way absorb a substance suspected to be leaking from underground high voltage cables.

Small leaks frequent for underground power cable

Line linked to recent Colquitz sheen leaked 200L of mineral oil over year

An underground transmission line linked to a recent oily sheen in Colquitz River has leaked about 200 litres of oil in the past year, B.C. Hydro says.

The line transmits power between a downtown Victoria substation to a substation near Camosun College Interurban, about nine kilometres, and is encased in mineral oil for insulation.

B.C. Hydro said that at a number of locations the line has been subject to small “drip leaks” into the earth, which it estimates adds up to about 200 litres since last December. Ted Olynyk, with B.C. Hydro, stressed that the petroleum-based mineral oil has “very low toxicity” and won’t harm fish and other wildlife.

“Anytime (a leak) happens, we go to extremes to ensure the environment is protected. We realize there is a lot of community sensitivity about this,” Olynyk said. “This doesn’t harm fish and that’s one of the reasons we use this oil.”

Saanich public works staff discovered an oil sheen on Colquitz River last Wednesday (Nov. 7) near Interurban Road and Columbine Way.

The crew strung absorbent booms across the stream, and B.C. Hydro took over cleanup and remediation late last week, after the corporation was confident the oil was related to its operations.

Olynyk said it remains unclear how many days the oil leaked undetected into the Colquitz. It’s possible oil migrated out from soil relocated from earlier B.C. Hydro excavation work in the area, as the underground cable itself is about 12 metres from the creek.

B.C. Hydro did transmission cable repairs in the area on Oct. 31 after discovering a leak, but Olynyk said there was no evidence any oil entered the creek from that incident. A different section of the cable had a small leak repaired in December.

The system can alert Hydro crews to low oil pressure in the cable, although that didn’t happen in October or this latest leak.

Olynyk said crews walk and inspect transmission lines every few months. Engineers suspect cycles of heating and cooling can cause small cracks in the cable casing.

Saanich environmental services manager Adriane Pollard said B.C. Hydro has taken responsibly for cleanup in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, but Saanich staff remain in the loop.

Pollard said she isn’t aware of other incidents where transmission line fluid has leaked into a Saanich waterway.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

Haber nets strong comeback in Pacific FC home game win

Vancouver Island team takes 2-0 win over Valour FC

Improvements to Sinclair Road coming

Development comes after Cadboro Bay Residents Association (CBRA) raised concerns

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

VIDEO: Here’s the news you missed this weekend

Some of the top weekend headlines from your community and beyond

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read