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Damaged dams still down 2 years after Irene

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The breached side of the Number 2 Dam that the Deerfield has been flowing freely over for almost two years.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    The breached side of the Number 2 Dam that the Deerfield has been flowing freely over for almost two years.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The Number Two Dam, the last one on the Deerfield River in Conway, has been off line since Irene overwhelmed the dam flowing through the building ruining equipment and clogging the turbines with sediment

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    The Number Two Dam, the last one on the Deerfield River in Conway, has been off line since Irene overwhelmed the dam flowing through the building ruining equipment and clogging the turbines with sediment

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The breached side of the Number 2 Dam that the Deerfield has been flowing freely over for almost two years.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The Number Two Dam, the last one on the Deerfield River in Conway, has been off line since Irene overwhelmed the dam flowing through the building ruining equipment and clogging the turbines with sediment

SHELBURNE FALLS — Nearly two years after Tropical Irene sent torrents of water roaring along the Deerfield River, TransCanada is still trying to bring two of its hydroelectric generators back into operation.

The intense water breached both the No. 2 and No. 4 dams, in Shelburne and Buckland, blowing out their baffles and flooding the hydroelectric stations, heavily damaging generating equipment, which is still in the process of being replaced, according to TransCanada, which owns and operates the chain of hydroelectric dams along the river.

“There was a large quantity of mud and debris that had to be cleaned out,” Davis Sheremata, a spokesman for the generating company, said this week. “There was significant damage, and we have completed the general cleanup and are currently conducting repair and restoration.”

The repair of generators and control equipment in both facilities, as well as replacement of switching gears has taken this long, in part, because of having to wait for replacement parts, he said. But also, Sheremata said, “When you get mud and debris to that extent, it takes time to clean up, and get it repaired and back up in working order.”

A close visual inspection of the No. 2 plant downstream of Shelburne Falls showed that baffles on the top of the dam, knocked out by the storm, had still not been replaced. During Irene, water actually poured through the building that houses the generating station.

Sheremata said “There have been no estimates yet” on the cost of repairs, and added that TransCanada expects both hydro stations to be “up and operational by early 2014.”

Four months after the Aug. 28 storm, which dumped nearly 10 inches on parts of Franklin County and caused severe flooding and damaged roads, bridges, buildings and farmland in Hawley, Colrain, Charlemont, Buckland and Deerfield, company spokesman Matthew Cole told The Recorder there had been flooding inside both generating stations.

Sheremata confirmed this week that both 4.8-megawatt plants had not been generating power since then.

You can reach Richie Davis at
rdavis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, Ext. 269

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