Friday, 6 April 2018

Electrical cable leaks dielectric fluid into Lake Michigan.

Around 2250 litres of dielectric fluid has leaked from a power line beneath the western end of the Straits of Mackinac, on Sunday 1-Monday 2 April 2018. The pipeline, which is operated by the American Transmission Co. and connects Point La Barbe to the north to the McGulpin Riser Station on the south side of the Straits, is thought to have been struck by a marine vessel passing through the channel. The leak was detected due to a drop in pressure in the line, which prompted the operators to shut the cable off and reduce the fluid pressure in it, but the poor weather in the region hampered efforts to locate the actual leak.

Scientists from the US Coast Guard, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the American Transmission Co., during the search for a leak from a damaged power cable beneath the Straits of Mackinac, earlier this week. US Coast Guard.

Dielectric fluids are used to insulate power cables by quenching electrical discharges. A variety of liquids can be used for this purpose, though in this case the substance is understood to be DF 45, a mixture of benzene and alkyl derivatives, considered to be toxic and harmful to the environment, though as the main danger is considered to be presented come from inhaling concentrated fumes, it is likely that the substance will disperse without causing serious problems in this instance.

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