Canada, Dam Safety, North America, Small Hydro

Fears of failure of Chute-Bell dam prompt evacuations in Quebec

The government of Quebec has issued a risk of dam failure alert related to the Rouge River downstream of Chute-Bell dam.

The government has directed people in the affected area to evacuate immediately, effective yesterday afternoon.

The dam impounds water for a 10-MW hydroelectric powerhouse, and water has been overtopping it due to a high flow rate in the river. The run-of-river Chute-Bell facility contains two turbine-generator units and was commissioned in 1915.

Hydro-Quebec has acknowledged the high flow rate in the river and said yesterday, “We trust that the facilities will be able to resist.”

Hydro-Quebec operates about 60 hydroelectric generating stations with a total capacity of 36,366 MW, and nearly 100% of its electricity is generated using water. This clean electricity is delivered to customers across Quebec and to the province’s export markets, including the northeastern U.S.

David Murray, chief operating officer of Hydro-Quebec and president of Hydro-Quebec production, is speaking during the Thursday morning plenary session at HydroVision International 2019.