Lightning Strikes

Posted Jan 28th, 2014 in Articles

Lightning Strikes

A lot of people are afraid of thunder storms. Heavy grey clouds, pouring rain, pounding thunder and blinding lightning are enough to make anybody feel uncomfortable.

With our senses and emotions being pushed to their limits very few people tend to think about technology during a storm, however, this technology is even more sensitive and can often cause greater safety/health risks than the storm itself.

Electricity transformers are part of the labyrinth of poles and wires which move electricity from the source of product to our homes and businesses.

These transformers are very sensitive to sudden energy surges and can become a serious source of ground/water contamination if they explode.

Electrical transformers perform the task of transferring energy between circuits, switching energy from one voltage to another.  As transformers detect a spike in energy, they're programmed to automatically turn off. This process can take up to 60 milliseconds. However fast those milliseconds may seem, it still may be too slow to stop the electrical overload. Boom! 

A chamber full of several gallons of mineral oil keeps the circuits cool. If the unexpected is to happen (a bolt of lightning) too much electricity is introduced, the circuits fry and melt, failing in a shower of sparks and potentially setting the mineral oil on fire. 

Depending on type of oil, power of the strike and temperature, the flame can be white, blue, red or green. As a result, ground/water contamination is different in each instance.  According to Hazardous Waste Regulations, the drained oil must be managed as hazardous waste taking time to analyze its chemical structure and determine proper spill response measures which make preparedness all the more important. 

If you weren’t afraid of thunder storms before, are you now?  Do you want ground/water contamination on your site?