The Boxing Day glycol spill

cleaning up after the spill

The situation...in the morning of 26 December, the plumbers were doing maintenance on the waste heat recovery system, including engine #3 (which was online). Although the valves were closed using DDC, one of them wasn't fully shut. But as there was no glycol circulation, it overheated...a small relief valve went off, screaming like a steam whistle. It gave some warning, so folks were able to move out of the immediate area before a 4" copper joint on the glycol piping to the exchanger blew out, dumping 1,000 gallons of glycol on top of the engine, its switchgear, and other stuff. The glycol vaporized when it hit the engine, creating fumes which sent several folks to Medical. There were alarms and outages, but fortunately Scott Smith had turned off the CO2 system after he realized that there was no fire. The glycol continued to drain (from the loop to the elevated station) because the pumps continued to run for awhile, and there were no big ladders to be found to close the valves outside of the power plant, as all of the ladders were inside the power plant. The station was put on the emergency power plant for awhile, with massive power conservation required. There was lots of cleanup required as well, as seen above--note that nobody is wearing hearing protection, as these generators are silent; power is being supplied from the EPP. And lots of expensive replacements of engine and switchgear parts resulted. Below, a couple more photos.

folks waiting in the galley
Folks not involved in the situation (including summer camp residents) were evacuated to the galley. Perhaps the guy at the front table was on the night shift.
firefighters set up in the gym
Meanwhile, the firefighters worked out of the old gym...in the center is Steffen Richter.

These photos are all from Cynthia Chiang...thanks!