Virginia Dominion has accepted responsibility for a mineral oil spill into the Potomac River that occurred in January.
Virginia Dominion has accepted responsibility for a mineral oil spill into the Potomac River that occurred in January. (Courtesy of Potomac Riverkeeper Network)

Dominion Virginia Power has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine to the District of Columbia stemming from a Jan. 24, 2016, spill of more than 13,000 gallons of mineral oil from its Crystal City substation into the Potomac River.

In an administrative order issued by Tommy Wells, director of the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, the Virginia-based Dominion was ordered to pay the agency a civil penalty of $25,000, plus 50,000 to fund a supplemental environmental project to conduct a stream survey and create a registry of all streams in the District.

The matter dates back to Feb. 3, 2016, when an oily sheen was reported in the Potomac River that extended from the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary and Gravelly Point to the Ronald Reagan National Airport and Jones Point.

Upon tracing the sheen, DOEE personnel and investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality identified the sheen having originated from an outfall in the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary.
The U.S. Coast Guard and other federal and state agencies, including DOEE, established a Unified Command to respond to the spill. After analytical testing the sheen was determined to be transformer mineral oil. Dominion, which had reported a discharge of mineral oil from its facility on Jan. 24, accepted responsibility for the spill.

Meanwhile, claims for natural resources damages, which are still being assessed by the federal and state natural resources trustees, including DOEE, remain outstanding.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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