Home Energy and Environment Del. Mark Levine Has Some Pointed Questions for Dominion Power on Its...

Del. Mark Levine Has Some Pointed Questions for Dominion Power on Its Possible Oil Spill Into the Potomac River


Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria/Arlington) has some excellent questions on this oil spill, including some pointed ones for our pals at Dominion Power.

The oil sheen is now largely dissipated, except unfortunately at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington. (For those that don’t think they know where that is, it’s actually in a prominent place you drive by all the time. That’s the pool of water between the airport and the 14th street bridge and between Route 1 and the GW parkway.)

I’m glad the sheen has dissipated. The real question is why it took so long for the public to be informed that Dominion leaked 13,500 gallons of mineral oil from its transformer substation. Whether or not this was the cause of the oil sheen — and 13,500 gallons seems like a heckuva lot to me! — shouldn’t we have known about the spill when it happened more than a week ago? Before it killed fish and geese? Before it became eight miles long? Why was I the first to even report the oil in the Potomac and the first to point the probable finger at Dominion? Shouldn’t Dominion and the officials who knew about this in January and the media have notified us sooner? I mean I’m in Richmond during the week. I shouldn’t have been the first to report to the public on this.

As it happens the spill was contained the day after I reported it. And I’m glad the authorities took quick action after I pressed them hard to do this. But if the public had known about the Dominion spill in late January when it happened, wouldn’t the oil sheen have been contained sooner with less environmental damage? And what really did happen with the Dominion transformer? Was it a broken pipe? Do these leaks happen all the time with little reporting?

We still have many questions that need to be answered on this. And I will continue to press for answers.