Dams and Civil Structures, Environmental, News, North America

Kleinschmidt, Cascade Environmental Services win awards from EBJ

The Environmental Business Journal recently named the winners of its annual EBJ Business Achievement Awards, for outstanding business performance in 2019, and two companies won project merit awards for their work on hydropower and dam projects.

Kleinschmidt Associates in Pittsfield, Maine, won a project merit award, hydropower engineering, for work associated with the upgrade of a hydroelectric project in Oregon. In November 2019, the Deschutes Valley Water District (DVWD) completed construction on a $12 million fish ladder and hydropower expansion at the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project.

The ladder connects habitat and improves resiliency for anadromous salmon and steelhead in the Deschutes Basin while increasing the amount of renewable hydropower output at the project by 1,010 MWh annually.

The 13-year-long effort was a collaboration between DVWD, resource agencies and non-governmental organizations to address aquatic habitat access in a watershed where historic runs of salmon and steelhead were extirpated. Volitional fish passage was sought. Carbon-free energy is able to help pay for it because the engineering of the ladder required an increase in the reservoir elevation, which creates more “head” for generating power.

DVWD worked with the Energy Trust of Oregon to assess feasibility and make this project economical. As a result, the project is now certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) to be in compliance with its criteria. The LIHI certification enables DVWD to market its power as certified Renewable Energy Credits.

And Cascade Environmental Services LLC in Portland, Ore., won a project merit award, dam rehabilitation, for a project involving the drilling and installation of an 8-inch PVC pilot casing at Boone Dam in northeastern Tennessee to direct the creation of a 55-inch flooded reverse secant pile seepage cut-off wall.

After a sinkhole and muddy discharge were discovered near the base of the embankment, dam safety experts and engineers determined the structure was at risk of internal erosion and subsequent dam failure. Cascade was brought in to conduct pilot borings for a vertical and plumb guide for the advancement and construction of a secant pile wall, which had never been previously done.

Sonic technology was selected for its tight verticality tolerance and to protect the embankment during epi-karst and bedrock drilling activities. The sonic drilling crew achieved nearly perfect verticality in the first hole over 56 feet of vertical drilling. Once the first casing was completed, Cascade proceeded to drill 57 other locations on the project site.

The awards are being officially presented in March at an awards ceremony.


Kleinschmidt Associates is an exhibitor at HYDROVISION International 2020. Click here to learn more about the event and to register.