Oil Spill, Yet Again|
Friday, February 25, 2011
To the Editor:
Recently, the Potomac River was a victim, yet again, of toxic pollution from GenOn’s Alexandria site, formerly known as the Mirant Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS). This time around the source was the PEPCO substation on the site, which routes power produced by the PRGS. A form of oil used as a coolant overflowed an on-site containment basin, later making its way into the Potomac River. Observations of oil and dead wildlife seen in the river days after the spill was reported and supposedly cleaned by PEPCO suggest that clean up operations have been very slow and insufficient.
Over the past few years, Gen On's PRGS site has been the location of multiple environmental spills polluting the Potomac River. In 2008, a tanker headed towards the PRGS spilled approximately 5,700 gallons of diesel fuel. The oil, intended to fuel the PRGS, could be seen covering driftwood and its sheen on the water was visible from quite a distance. Just a few months ago, in October 2010 toxic pollution flowed yet again into the Potomac River from a piece of equipment in the basement of GenOn’s site.
Both last week and in 2008 an on-site containment area proved insufficient to keep oil spillage from the plant site from making its way into the Potomac River. Clearly, these instances indicate that environmental stewardship is at the very bottom of the agenda at the Alexandria GenOn site.
Whether or not its PEPCO or GenOn at fault, it's time for operations at this site to clean up their act.
Dr. Ana I. Prados
Prados is an environmental scientist and a research assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and lives in Springfield.