BC Hydro studies options for 106-MW Ruskin powerhouse

BC Hydro is evaluating rehabilitation alternatives, including costs, to replace generating equipment and to meet seismic standards at its 105.6-MW Ruskin Dam on British Columbia’s Stave River.

Preliminary engineering estimates indicated the rehabilitation could be completed by 2015 for C$175 million (US$177 million).

BC Hydro awarded a C$500,000 (US$508,000) contract to MWH Canada Inc. to develop and assess options for rehabilitating or replacing all powerhouse components, including the water conveyance system, draft tubes, mechanical and electrical components, and the powerhouse itself. MWH Canada also is to provide a feasibility level design for the preferred option.

A condition assessment of the powerhouse by another contractor, RW Beck, previously concluded most powerhouse equipment had exceeded its useful life. As a result of that assessment, BC Hydro identified and initiated action on several immediate priorities to address safety and environmental considerations in the short term.

The generating station was commissioned in 1930, the same year Ruskin Dam was completed. Additional generating units were installed in 1938 and 1950.

Ruskin Dam also targeted for dam safety program

In addition to the powerhouse rehabilitation, BC Hydro is conducting a $145 million seismic improvement program at Ruskin Dam to be completed in 2010.

BC Hydro said water levels at Hayward Lake behind the 59.4-meter-tall dam would remain low for as long as five years, until a permanent seismic reinforcement of Ruskin Dam is designed and implemented. (HNN 2/24/06) The utility began lowering the lake level in October 2005.

Earthquake standards increased since the dam was built. Investigations concluded the main body of the dam and gates would be vulnerable in an earthquake.

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