A transformer failure at Con Edison’s DUMBO location that likely leached thousands of gallons of mineral oil into the East River happened on Sunday. Contractors are working to clean up insulating oil released from one of its large transformers in this substation. Since the failure and rupture of the transformer, Con Edison has been excavating and removing oil-soaked soil from the affected area around the transformer, while deploying 4,000 feet of boom, absorbents and skimmers to contain and collect oil from the East River.

The transformer contained approximately 37,000 gallons of insulating oil, and about 6,400 gallons was recovered from the damaged equipment. The remainder was released into the soil onto the substation property and is being excavated and removed. Some of the oil leaked from the property into the East River, and approximately 560 gallons has been recovered from the river. The amount of oil that could not be recovered from the river is difficult to calculate, but Con Edison said it would attempt to make that assessment when the cleanup is completed.

The transformer oil can impact fish or wildlife if there are heavy concentrations in the water, and the company is working to remove all the oil that can be recovered. The general public should stay out of the work zones and avoid direct contact where sheening is noted.

Con Edison said it would work to remove the damaged transformer and install the replacement transformer next week.

Read more about Advocates Calling for Stiffer Con Ed Protocols in Wake of East River Oil Spill.