Dam Safety, Environmental, North America

Nebraska dam with 3-MW hydro powerhouse damaged during flooding

Severe flooding in the north-central U.S. has led to at least partial failure of a dam that impounds water for a hydroelectric powerhouse.

The Nebraska Public Power District said today on its Facebook page: “Wednesday evening the Spencer Hydro suffered extensive damage due to an ice jam. All Spencer Hydro employees are safe! Please avoid the area due to the flooding conditions.”

The dam failure damaged a highway, but no people were hurt. An evacuation order was issued for residents of Norfolk, Neb. Norfolk Daily News reported on “a partial failure of the dam due to the high water levels.”

The 3-MW powerhouse, on the Niobrara River, is one of three hydro facilities the district owns. The other two are 24-M North Platte and 1.49-MW Kearney. NPPD also purchases electricity from several other hydropower plants.

Additionally, the company said it is monitoring water levels at its Norfolk substation and on the Missouri River at its Cooper Nuclear Station facility, with more than 5,200 sandbags positions around key locations at the facility.