Oil spill reported at The Dalles Dam

January 17

THE DALLES — A sheen from an oil spill at The Dalles Dam was visible from Hood River bridge Friday morning.

Approximately 75 gallons of transformer oil, out of 200 spilled, entered the Columbia River. The oil, believed to contain toxic PCBs, spilled upstream of The Dalles Dam Thursday morning.

Greg deBruler of Columbia Riverkeeper said his group started monitoring and sampling Friday afternoon with the Columbia River Intertribal Fishery Commission. DeBruler said the oil contains between 5 and 10 parts per million PCBs.

Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon and Washington departments of Ecology have responded, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife report.

Bonneville Dam was notified, and the Corps is also working with state health departments.

“We are focusing our efforts on containing the spill upstream,” said Matt Rabe, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers, which operates the dam.

Rabe said the spill happened after a transformer seal was damaged by the extreme weather, spilling 200-300 gallons of oil into the powerhouse. It was discovered at 8 a.m. Thursday; the Corps notified the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center.

DeBruler said his organization was concerned about the lack of recovery efforts downstream of the dam, considering PCBs’ immediate and long-term impacts on fish and invertebrate wildlife.

Foss Environmental is cleaning up the main slick, Rabe said.

“They’re working diligently to try to get it removed so we don’t have a continual stream downstream,” he said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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