BC Hydro plans small spill at WAC Bennett Dam

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro plans to do a short-duration spill at WAC Bennett Dam next week.

The province’s power utility plans to clear ice out of the spillway chute in order to prepare for Phase 2 of a related upgrade project.

“In order to clear the accumulation of ice, water will be released by opening the spillway gates for a few hours during the day,” spokesperson Bob Gammer wrote in an email. “This is the same type of operation we performed in April 2014.”

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He stressed in the same message that there will be no spilling at Peace Canyon Dam, and residents downstream of Peace Canyon will not see any change to Peace River flows related to the spill at WAC Bennett Dam.

Gammer explained that there are three spillway gates at the facility, each gate will be opened either 20 centimetres, or 30 centimetres for about eight hours.

“This rate of spill is much less than the 50,000 cfs and 35,000 cfs that was spilled at WAC Bennett Dam during the summer of 2012,” he added.

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Since there are some units currently out of service for capital project and maintenance work in the G.M. Shrum Generating Station, its noted that the total discharge rate at WAC Bennett Dam will be less than normal full discharge when all units are running in the powerhouse.

Boaters should be prepared to encounter ice on Dinosaur Reservoir anytime during the month of April.

Gammer stated that there is no specific date just yet, but he expects there to be one established by Friday.

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