The Snare River hydro unit was taken out of service today after an oil sheen was spotted on April 25 by Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) staff, according to an NTPC news release issued Tuesday.
The power corporation stated that the Jackfish Generation Plant will be used as a backup power source while Snare Falls is offline. An investigation is taking place to get to the source of the leak.
“An initial inspection did not find evidence of leaks and the unit was returned to service,” states the news release. “The unit had been shut down for inspection on May 4 and at that time oil was seen missing from the system. An update was provided to the regulator (on Tuesday).”
NTPC does not know if more staff or contractors will be needed to repair the unit, but, if so, the corporation will work closely with the office of the chief public health officer to ensure all required directives and worker safety protocols are followed, states the release.
“The timetable for completion of the investigation and maintenance work at Snare Falls are unknown,” the release reads. “The costs are also unknown.”
Noel Voykin, NTPC’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the corporation will work as hard as possible to get the unit working again, but the old hydro facility remains an ongoing problem.
“NTPC has acknowledged that aging hydro infrastructure is one of our biggest challenges, resulting in increased maintenance costs and less reliability,” Voykin stated. “We will work as quickly and safely as possible to return Snare Falls to service.”
The corporation is recommending customers reduce energy consumption in the meantime to help minimize the cost of the unplanned shutdown.