Members of the Army Corps of Engineers and EWEB worked together Wednesday in an oil spill response drill at Dexter Dam. The scenario depicted the failure of the dam’s powerhouse transformer, causing 58-hundred gallons of insulating oil to spill into the Middle Fork Willamette River. EWEB and the engineers were joined by fire departments and response teams from the surrounding towns and counties. EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says the main goal of the exercise was to be prepared ahead of time.
“By having the equipment pre-positioned and having multiple agencies that are practiced in trying to contain a spill in fast moving water, the hope is that we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”
The drill included the release of oil-containing boons, as well as recovery equipment. This type of incident is not unlikely. Nearly 4,000 gallons of diesel spilled into the river in 2012 after a tanker truck overturned on Highway 58 near Westfir.