HOLDREGE, Neb.) – A crew from The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District was working Wednesday and Thursday to contain a small leak of hydraulic fluid that occurred from the Kingsley Hydroplant late Tuesdaynight.
Engineers on site said a fault in the hydroplant’s excitation system, which controls the generator, caused the unit to trip off-line. At that point, approximately 200 gallons of fluid escaped through a small emergency shutdown valve onto the turbine floor when the automated generator shutdown occurred. Some of the fluid entered the plant’s sump system and a maximum of 75 gallons discharged to Lake Ogallala. Subsequently, a small sheen on the water was reported Wednesday morning near the Keystone Diversion Dam.
Central cut releases from Lake Ogallala to the North Platte River to minimize the spread of the fluid and is in the process of preparing booms to contain the spill. After the hydraulic fluid is contained, it will be removed from the water surface with special absorptive material.
The Nebraska Public Power District is also implementing measures to prevent the hydraulic fluid from moving down the Keystone Canal.
At this point, any potential threat to fish and wildlife in Lake Ogallala and downstream has not been determined. Initial observations indicate that effects, if any, would be minimal because of the small amount of leaked fluid, but assessments are ongoing.
Central reported the leak to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality early Wednesday morning.
Central is investigating the cause of the exciter failure and the discharge from the valve to determine appropriate corrective actions.