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Source of oil in Mystic River found, stopped

Looking at clamped leaky pipe in Somerville

Coast Guard officers look at newly clamped pipe. Photo by USCG.

The Coast Guard reports an Eversource electrical conduit under I-93 near the Somerville/Charlestown line was the source of oil showing up in the Mystic River.

After three weeks of sleuthing, the Coast Guard says:

An electrical pipe running underground, under the I-93 bypass in Somerville, was identified as being the source of the product. After excavation, it was discovered that a crack in the line allowed the oil to enter the soil. The product leaked into the storm drain system and then into the Mystic River.

A temporary clamp was fitted around the crack to stop the leak. Crews are scheduled to weld a permanent seal on Wednesday.

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in an electrical conduit?

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I would like the first thing all the men and women it took to actually locate and find the source of this leak great job. Go Unions and non union.

Now can someone give us an update on the Environmental damage this has caused and what are going to be the prognosis of the environment in that area. Next what damage has been done to the waterways and what will be its short and long-term negative effects.

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Oil is used in underground high voltage lines as a cooling agent, similar to transformers.

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These are not your everyday local power lines

If you put 50,000 to 350,000 volts on a wire in the open you need lots of space to keep it from arcing to something else which is conducting -- hence the tall towers and wide open swaths of right-of-way out in the countryside

However, If you enclose the wires inside a container and fill it with a non-conducting liquid ("Transformer Oil") the distances from the wires to any nearby conductors can be much reduced and you can then bury the oil containing pipes with the high voltage wires underneath city streets with no-one the wiser

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...something happens. Then we get wiser. The hard way.

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