ADELANTO – A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Converter Station transformer located in the City of Adelanto exploded on Saturday morning officials said. The incident that was reported at around 7:15 a.m. could have been disastrous, but the quick action of crews, Adelanto Public Works, and the San Bernardino County Fire Department the risk was quickly mitigated.
The explosion at the 300-acre station on Aster Road in the City of Adelanto was caused by a cracked seal which caused a leak of non-toxic mineral oil. “The disaster would have been if the leak had not been contained on site,” said Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr in a news release. “The residents of Adelanto were in no danger at any time because the situation was quickly contained by LADWP staff with the help of Adelanto Public Works crews and County Fire.”
City officials said that much of the leak was contained in a pit under the transformer as it is designed to do in the case of failure. “Although the majority of the oil was captured and retained on site, we know that some material was discovered as far north as Bartlett Avenue and Aster Roads, almost 2 miles away,” said Kerr.
The oil, along with the water used to extinguish the fire and overnight rain water drained from the site of the explosion and could have caused a potential disaster. “Even though the oil isn’t toxic, we could have had quite a mess had the majority of the leak escaped D.W.P. property,” said Kerr.
City of Adelanto officials said that booms were placed at several key points along the drainage path to isolate and retain the oil while allowing the water to drain while the majority of the oil stood within the D.W.P. property. Adelanto Public Works responded to assist and used city-owned and rented loader to build multiple makeshift detention ponds on D.W.P. property to capture the oil that escaped the explosion site. “My hat is off to our operator Lowell Thomas, who, in addition to digging the detention pond moved 325 yards of dirt to create a four-foot berm around the detention pond in the event of failure,”said Kerr.
The oil fortunately did not seep into the water table and the water and oil was to be siphoned and the contaminated dirt removed.”Fortunately no one was injured in Saturday’s explosion, and it appears that D.W.P. crews executed their contingency plan as they were trained to make sure the situation didn’t deteriorate,” said Kerr.
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