Duquesne Light Company Excavating to Reach Cable Under Liberty Ave.

Outbound lanes closed to traffic

PITTSBURGH — Duquesne Light Company (DLC) crews are working through the night and into Monday to find the compromise in the underground transmission cable that has caused dielectric fluid to leak since April 29.

“Our focus is not only on finding the location but quickly patching the cable to stop the leak until permanent repairs can be made and beginning the clean-up process to limit potential environmental impact,” said John Hilderbrand, II, vice president, Operations for DLC. “Efforts over the weekend enabled us to manage the flow rate while continuing to safely maintain the cable and service to our customers,” he added.

Traffic Impacts

• Liberty Ave. outbound lanes have been closed to traffic.
• Travelers going outbound will use one of the two inbound lanes.
• The duration of the closure is unknown and DLC will provide updates as needed.

Drivers and pedestrians in the area should exercise caution by:

• Adhering to safe speeds in this construction area.
• Leaving significant space for the crews to safely complete their work.
• Staying behind all barriers and barricades.

DLC has mobilized all its available resources, including internal and external subject matter experts and equipment to assist in the clean-up once the leak is stopped. River boats will be patrolling the Allegheny River throughout Monday looking for signs of the fluid.


On Monday afternoon, April 29, Duquesne Light Company (DLC) system operators learned that an underground transmission cable on the North Side of Pittsburgh was leaking a non-toxic, clear liquid used to cool down and insulate underground cables as they safely deliver reliable power. DLC crews have been working around the clock to identify the source of the leak and have taken measures to limit
​ potential environmental impact, including significantly slowing the rate of the leak. Currently, DLC estimates approximately 43,700 gallons of fluid have escaped.

No power outages or injuries have occurred as a result of this incident. There is currently no danger to the public in the Strip District area, however DLC will be actively monitoring the construction vicinity to ensure the public is safe throughout the process.

About the Substance

• Commonly referred to as dielectric fluid, the leaking substance is a clear, mineral-like liquid that presents a glossy-like sheen and is non-toxic to the public.

• It is non-flammable and non-combustible.

• In large, concentrated quantities, it may impact aquatic life.

• It has a faint mineral oil smell.

Current Response

• DLC continuing to work with local partners, including Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, to minimize impact to the rivers and sewer systems.

• The company has isolated the source of the leak on Liberty Ave. between 26th and 27th St. and is working to further reduce the flow of the liquid until a patch can be made to stop it.

• DLC proactively notified local and state agencies, including the Public Utility Commission, Pittsburgh Emergency Management, Allegheny County Emergency Services, Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Protection.

If area residents notice a clear, yet frothy-like substance on the rivers or entering nearby waterways, they should notify the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.


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About Duquesne Light Company

For more than 100 years, Duquesne Light Company has provided safe and reliable electric service to communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, our core values of safety, integrity, dependability, equity and community enable us to serve more than 600,000 customers in two counties, including the city of Pittsburgh. We are committed to safely powering our customers’ lives while playing a leading role in our region’s clean energy transition. Our vision is to create a larger-than-light, clean energy future for all by delivering exceptional results today and boldly harnessing opportunities for tomorrow. In doing so, we can ensure a cleaner, healthier and more equitable community for generations to come.


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411 Seventh Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219

Media Line: 412-430-3404