Refurbished dam needs $500,000 for repairs

Photo of dam debris removalPhoto Courtesy EWEB
In January of 2011, EWEB crews removed a large clump of logs, root wads and other debris following a high water event caused by heavy rains, unseasonably warm temperatures and rapid mountain snowmelt. Despite problems with one roll gate, a flood of similar size could pass through the dam.

LEABURG: Plans by a federal agency to improve water controls at the Leaburg Dam have turned into a half million headache for the Eugene Water & Electric Board. At the utility board’s meeting in Leaburg last Thursday, generation and fleet manager Roger Kline reported that a hydraulic lift system in the dam’s central roll gate failed in January and has yet to be repaired. Estimates are the costs involved could total $500,000.
During the dam’s relicensing about eight years ago, the dam’s traditional AC motor and chain drive system was replaced at the request of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The new system, unique in the United States, was also installed on the structure’s two other roll gates.
Kline told the board that although the central gate doesn’t work, the other two are still operational and can allow up to 56,000 cubic feet per second to pass through the dam – equivalent to the flow of a 100-year flood.
Currently, the failed unit, which has a cracked housing, has been removed and is being inspected. The device, similar to a bow thruster on a container ship, was manufactured in Stockholm. Estimates are it could take up to a nine-month turnaround for a replacement to arrive.
 

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.