Flood Damaged MN Power Hydro Station To be Fully Restored by 2014

By KBJR News 1

Flood Damaged MN Power Hydro Station To be Fully Restored by 2014

June 18, 2013 Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 12:08 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota Power's hyrdo station that was damaged by the 2012 June Flooding is expected to be back in operation by the end of this year and fully restored in 2014.

Officials from Minnesota Power say major repairs are underway at the company's Thomson Hydro Station on the lower St. Louis River in Jay Cooke Park. The 106 year old hydroelectric plant has been out of commission since the June 20th floods.

“The significance of this localized event was striking,” said Minnesota Power Chief Operating Officer Brad Oachs. “We saw peak river flows of 56,000 cubic feet per second which was 40 percent above previous record flows. Our employees performed admirably under extremely challenging circumstances.”

Repairs to the forebay are estimated at $25 million. In addition to the forebay work, company officials say they are investing about $35 million in improvements to harden the system against future flooding and maintenance and rehabilitation of facilities that would have required extended outages within the next several years.

Company officials hope to get underway with a major component of the forebay reconstruction by August. Sheets of steel will be placed into the ground to reinforce almost 3,000 feet of rebuilt earthen embankment. A new permanent concrete spillway also will be installed at the breach site.

Minnesota Power says they are also working closely with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Carlton County, Jay Cooke State Park and local elected officials to minimize effects construction will have on area residents and the park and to assist the park in rebuilding trails damaged in the area.

Minnesota Power has been working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as an independent consulting board of engineers on assessing the impacts of the 2012 flooding.

The company has also filed a report with the Commission on how employees and systems performed during the floods.

Minnesota Power expects to file a request with the MPUC in 2013 for cost recovery of capital expenditures related to the restoration and repair of the Thomson facility and other related St. Louis River hydro system projects.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns
kburns@kbjr.com