Avista is working with Idaho and Montana emergency and environmental agencies to assess and manage an oil spill on the Clark Fork River in North Idaho and Western Montana.
The spill was discovered at Avista’s Noxon Rapids Hydroelectric Project Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, at about 12:30 p.m. Avista immediately implemented emergency spill procedures and we are working with the appropriate local, state and federal agencies to begin clean-up measures as quickly as possible.
Operators at the dam found that a quarter-inch pipe carrying transformer oil had broken and was spilling oil onto the transformer deck. The deck contains storm water drains and oil was being released from one of these drains into the stretch of the Clark Fork River between the Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge hydroelectric projects. Avista owns and operates both projects.
Preliminary indications are that ice that had built up on the face of the dam fell off and broke a pressure gauge on the valve of the pipe. Once the leak was discovered, operators immediately shut the valve off manually. Initial estimates are that approximately 1,250 gallons of oil were spilled, with the majority going into the river.
We’ve identified some oil downstream of Noxon and are deploying boats equipped with trained personnel and equipment to begin clean-up efforts.
Avista will continue working with emergency officials and environmental agencies to mitigate any environmental impacts. We are not aware of any immediate threat to wildlife or aquatic life, and while we also don’t believe this spill poses a long-term threat to the health of the river, we will follow up aggressively to ensure that there are no lasting impacts to the environment.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides service to 355,000 electric and 314,000 natural gas customers in three Western states. Avista’s primary, non-regulated subsidiary is Advantage IQ. Our stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.” For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008.
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