Snare Falls hydro plant returns to service after leaks

The NWT Power Corporation has returned its Snare Falls hydro plant to service after a two-week shutdown related to ongoing concern about oil leaks.

According to the power corporation, approximately 408 litres of oil has “gradually leaked” from the Snare Falls plant since the start of June. It was shutdown on December 10 after workers saw an oil sheen near the plant.

But the power corporation – also known as NTPC – can’t afford to keep the plant offline indefinitely with Yellowknife at peak winter power demand and replacement diesel, a stand-in for Snare Falls, having already cost $260,000.


“As an interim measure, NTPC has replaced oil in the unit with a higher viscosity lubricant to prevent future leaking. A detailed inspection and any required repair work on the unit will be completed next year during a period of warmer weather and lower electricity demand,” the corporation said in a Thursday news release.

“The unit has been successfully tested over the past several days and is now considered back to fully functional.”

The power corporation said the total cost of the shutdown was not yet known. Even the $260,000 cost of diesel, NTPC said, could have been worse.

“Strong performance from our other hydro units helped to minimize the amount of diesel generation required while Snare Falls was offline,” Thursday’s statement concluded.