As we reported previously, repairing the gates was more complex than just ordering parts from Amazon and slapping them on.
It took years to obtain separate appropriations, in addition to manufacturing the seals themselves. The work itself was painstaking, which required contractors to contend with the elements each day while water managers delicately balanced the pool.
In addition to the seals, contractors also replaced seven sets of lifting chains on the main unit intake gates, which allow operators to shut off the water supply coming into the dam via the penstocks.
These were the original chains from when the power plant came online in 1954, according to Wes Butler, Thurmond’s power project manager.
Butler said the old chains were replaced with all stainless steel construction, which should last the lifetime of the dam.
However, after all this maintenance, we’re not resting on our laurels.
In fact, a group of safety experts and geotechnical engineers will conduct a comprehensive dam inspection today, including a test of the newly replaced seals on the gates.
According to Stan Simpson, Savannah District’s senior water manager, personnel will raise each gate, one at a time, by one foot, to ensure all the pieces are functioning properly.
Other specialists will survey the embankments and structural aspects of the dam. The test should last approximately eight hours.
Simpson said the amount of water released during the test will be negligible and he expects Thurmond to be at guide curve (330 feet) by the end of the week.
“We’ll be using water that is currently in flood storage at Hartwell and routing it through the system,” he said.
In addition, Simpson said he expects another front that is developing in the Midwest to bring water into the Savannah River Basin later this week to next week.
~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communication Office