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I’m writing today on behalf of Brookfield White Pine Hydro, owner and operator of the Weston Hydroelectric Project in Skowhegan. This purpose of this email is to notify you that during Monday’s extreme high flow conditions along the Kennebec River, we tripped several stanchion bays at this facility.
A stanchion bay is a spillway section in which the frame creates a slot to hold stop logs or flashboards used to retain water in an impoundment (herein after referred to as a headpond). When stanchions are triggered by high flows and the logs or boards are released, flows discharge rapidly. To put it plainly, they did their job and operated as planned given the hydrologic conditions of the river.
With that said, in the coming days and weeks, when flows subside, the Weston headpond will drop uncontrollably, until we are able to replace the missing stanchion wood. Ultimately, we expect that the Weston headpond will be drawn down to an elevation of roughly 147.0 feet, a total of 9 feet below the normal pond level, before replacements can be installed and the headpond returned to normal conditions.
It is likely that the citizens of Skowhegan and Norridgewock will notice these depressed water levels as they prepare for the late-spring boating season. Additionally, with these trips, the spillway will be exposed and so-called boater barriers have not yet been installed at the project due to the recent high flows. I appreciate anything you can do to help get the word out about these expected river conditions to keep our recreating public safe.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this matter. I will try to keep you apprised of the latest developments as flows subside and we begin planning to restore the headpond elevation.
Manager, Stakeholder Relations – Northeast
Brookfield Renewable US
150 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240