- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

New turbine spills oil in Sheffield

SHEFFIELD – A hazardous materials cleanup crew was expected to finish mopping up oil spilled from a new industrial wind turbine on Tuesday.

A spokesman for First Wind, the owner of the 16-turbine project, said, “We learned on Saturday that oil leaked from a gear box at one of our turbines at our Sheffield wind project.

“No resources were impacted by the leak,” spokesman John Lamontagne added in an e-mail.

Chuck Schwer, a member of the state Hazmat Response Team, said he was paged by Sheffield Fire Chief Marc Brown at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

At that time, Mr. Schwer said, “they thought they had a 180-gallon oil spill.”

However, reports from the scene reduced that estimate to 100 gallons, and finally to between 55 and 60 gallons, Mr. Schwer said.

First Wind hired Dana Calkins of St. Johnsbury to clean up the oil.

“I’ve worked with him for 20 years. He’s very reputable, very thorough,” said Mr. Schwer, who also works for the state Agency of Natural Resources.

Most of the spilled oil was on the tower itself or in the gravel pad it sits on, Mr. Schwer said.

However, he added, “some of the oil was sprayed up to 200 yards away. They went after every bit of oil they could possibly recover.”

“They gathered up a fair amount of contaminated gravel with a backhoe,” Mr. Schwer said. The fact that the spill involved heavy gear oil made it of “a little less concern” than if lighter oil had been spilled, he added.

Looking at the situation “from my end,” Mr. Schwer said, “it was a spill that happened, and the response was more than adequate.”

Mr. Lamontagne wrote that “our contractor, RMT, reported the incident immediately to state and local authorities, as required.

“In areas where there was oil that reached the soil, the soil has been removed and is being cleaned,” his e-mail continued. “Areas where there has been excavation are being regraded and new grass is being planted there.”