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Posted at 10:37 PM ET, 01/23/2011

Mineral oil leaks from Pepco facility

By Martin Weil

More than 5,000 gallons of mineral oil leaked from a transformer at a Pepco facility in Alexandria Sunday and some went into the Potomac River, the utility said.

Pepco said a pipe separated from a transformer at a company switch yard, allowing the nontoxic oil to flow into an emergency containment reservoir.

Oil that reached the river was contained by booms and removal from the contained area was to go on overnight, Pepco said. The utility said the oil that leaked onto land around the transformer was contained and most of it cleaned up.

According to Pepco, the transformer was in a Pepco switch yard adjacent to the power station owned by GenOn.

Besides serving as a coolant and insulator, mineral oil, a byproduct of petroleum distillation, has many other uses, including as a laxative.

By Martin Weil  | January 23, 2011; 10:37 PM ET
Categories:  DC, Virginia  
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