Taum Sauk hydro project resumes operations after reservoir reconstruction

The 440-MW Taum Sauk hydroelectric plant is generating electricity and fully functioning following AmerenUE’s unveiling of a new $490 million, 1.5 billion gallon reservoir, local media reported.

The Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydro project has been out of service since its upper reservoir’s mountaintop ring dam breached Dec. 14, 2005, releasing 1.4 billion gallons of water down the Black River, injuring nine people, and damaging property, including Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.

The reconstruction of Taum Sauk included establishing one of the nation’s most rigorous dam-safety programs and the creation of the largest roller-compacted concrete dam in North America, said Ameren Corp.

The new reservoir measures almost a mile around and is made of crushed rock from the old structure. The 3.2 million cubic yards of concrete used during construction is barely less than the volume used to build the Hoover Dam, according to reports.

The reservoir has 100 foot-high concrete walls.

The new structure has key safety features such as a higher dam crest to prevent overflowing, video monitoring of the upper reservoir and the use of roller-compacted concrete for its construction, media reports indicate.

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