Tag Archives: Bonneville Power Administration

BPA eliminates capacitors that contain toxic PCBs

Bonneville Power Administration has removed the last of more than 100,000 capacitors containing PCBs throughout its distribution system, thus reducing the risk of spilling these toxic chemicals that never seem to go away.

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the accomplishment, as stated in a press release.

“EPA congratulates BPA for its proactive and voluntary efforts to remove a significant source of PCBs from the Northwest’s largest transmission system,” said Elin Miller, administrator for EPA’s Region 10. “This action by BPA shows their commitment to protect human health and the environment by preventing future releases of toxic PCBs.”

BPA replaced more than 101,000 capacitors at 69 substations. The $102-million cost was spread over a 17-year period beginning in 1991.

Eliminating the chance of spilling PCBs also reduces the financial risk of a costly cleanup hanging over BPA since PCBs were outlawed in the 1970s.

We hear a lot about dangerous levels of PCBs residing in marine mammals, including killer whales, seals and sea lions. These chemicals are considering endocrine disruptors with effects on the immune and reproductive systems of all kinds of animals.

I’m not sure if anyone has identified the predominant sources of PCBs are in the marine environment, but we know it will take a long time to eliminate the problem.

UPDATE, OCT. 10: Eric Robinson of the Vancouver Columbian does a nice job covering this story.