Md. power plant recognized as source of sheen on Potomac

WASHINGTON — NRG Energy’s power plant in Dickerson, Maryland, has been identified as the source of the oily substance first seen on the Potomac River a little more than a week ago, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Monday.

Lab analysis revealed that the sheen was lubricating oil that matched samples taken at the Dickerson plant and south of White’s Ferry, the EPA said. The discharge was less than 150 gallons.

NRG Energy has accepted responsibility and agreed to work with the EPA-led Unified Command.

Much of the sheen had dissipated before reaching intakes for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission or Washington Aqueduct intakes, which are downriver. There is no evidence of new sheen, the EPA said.

WSSC said in another news release Monday that the substance had not been observed anywhere near their Potomac River intake, and that their drinking water hasn’t been affected.

They’ve continued to keep two booms in the river to divert any floating substances, have stopped any maintenance activities that require any flushing of pipes and are doing more testing than usual.

The slick was first spotted near Point of Rocks, Maryland.

WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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