Oil spill possibly linked to transformer failure in Adelaide

An oil spill discovered in the River Torrens may be linked to the substation fire at Thebarton suburb of Adelaide.

Wednesday’s fire cut power to thousands of homes and businesses for two and a half hours. The slick was first noticed and reported by council workers just before 10.15am on Thursday.

The 2km-long slick covered the river from Murray St, Thebarton – where a drain from the substation leads to the river.

“We suspect because of the location of the spill that it is related to the fire (on Wednesday) but at this moment we have absolutely no confirmation of that,” Metropolitan Fire Services assistant chief Glenn Benham said.

He was unable to confirm exactly how much oil leaked into the river but the burnt transformer, which held 10,000 litres of oil, was empty when firefighters accessed it on Wednesday.

While the spill is a concern for the river’s health, the low viscosity, mineral-based, oil did not contain any carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) and authorities are working to mitigate any risks. Those mitigation efforts included the use of floating barriers to contain and absorb the oil.

The substation is expected to be up and running again next week with the help of a backup transformer on the site. Electricity supply had been redirected through the network to power the western suburbs but the damaged transformer would take some time to be fixed.

Source: Adelaide Now