Nfld. & Labrador

Oil spills into Corner Brook Stream from paper mill power plant

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper had to deploy its environmental response team Monday after oil spilled from a power station into the Corner Brook Stream.

Service NL confirms about three litres of lubricating oil leaked into stream Monday

The Watsons Brook power plant (left) and oil seen in the neighbouring Corner Brook Stream (right). On Monday it was discovered about three litres of hydraulic brake oil had leaked into the stream from the plant. ( Knight)

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper had to deploy its environmental response team Monday after approximately three litres of lubricating oil spilled from a power generating station into the Corner Brook Stream and Glynmill Pond.

Some walkers on the Corner Brook Stream Trail first noticed the oil sheen Monday along with a foul odour that smelled like oil.

After following it upstream they noticed it was coming from the Watson's Brook power plant, a small hydroelectric generating station owned and operated by Kruger for the paper mill. Service NL has confirmed with CBC that about three litres of lubricating oil ended up in the stream.

Once Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was notified, it shut down any equipment at the Watson's Brook plant that could have been the source of the oil, and employees deployed a boom around the plant.

Leak from generator brakes

According to general manager Darren Pelley, the cause was a leak on the brake system for the plant's generator.

"At this point it appears in the brake system there was a crack that resulted in a small leak that then escaped the containment system," he told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.

Once the leak was stopped and contained, a boom was put in place around the plant and provincial and federal inspectors were called. Workers used absorbent material to clean up any observable oil on the water.

Oil seen Monday in the water near the Watsons Brook power plant. (Nita Knight)

Pelley said the investigation is ongoing and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper will ensure everything is safe and working properly before any equipment is started back up.

He did say that staff have not identified any harm to birds or other wildlife in the area.

"We had heard concerns and of course we were very concerned as well, so there was an inspection amongst the water fowl, the ducks along with Environment Canada," he said. "We did not see any distress to the ducks which is of course a good thing."

With files from Bernice Hillier and Corner Brook Morning Show