Dams go off emergency action plan as water levels drop
By: Press release, Pine Journal
Minnesota Power’s emergency action plan for high flows is no longer in effect at its generating stations and the majority of its reservoirs as flood waters recede along the St. Louis River watershed. The company expects to deactivate the plan for Island and Fish Lake reservoirs this weekend as conditions continue to improve.
During the flood event, the flow peaked at 55,000 cubic feet per second (approximately 25 million gallons per minute) at the company’s Fond du Lac Dam compared to normal levels between 2,000 and 5,000 cfs. Water levels at Minnesota Power’s Island, Boulder, Whiteface, Fish and Rice Lake Reservoirs remain steady and are dropping slightly, allowing for the lowering of water levels running through the utility’s hydro system which in turn is lowering water levels downstream of its facilities.
Minnesota Power also reports that flows at generating stations, including those at Thomson and Fond du Lac dams, are dropping as well. This morning Fond du Lac was reported at 17,920 cfs well below its peak of 55,000 cfs. Currently the Knife Falls facility is producing electricity near capacity. It is estimated that Scanlon will again be producing early next week.
The Duluth-based utility also operates dams along the Mississippi River which also experienced high flow conditions and activated the emergency action plan at its Blanchard Dam which has now dropped below emergency action levels.
Minnesota Power officials met Thursday afternoon and evening with residents and governmental representatives in the flood-affected communities of Thomson Township and Carlton, Minn., and in Superior, Wis. Chief Operating Officer Brad Oachs, Superior Water, Light & Power President Bethany Owen and Renewable Business Operations Manager Bonny Carlson, among others, gave updates on the company’s hydro operations, discussed reestablishing electricity to flood-damaged structures and offered cleanup support and assistance with disaster relief.
Minnesota Power representatives will be attending informational meetings in Carlton and St. Louis Counties as they are scheduled.
Employees of Minnesota Power are joining flood relief volunteer efforts in Thomson and other neighboring communities.
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 144,000 customers, 16 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States. More information can be found at www.mnpower.com.