I’m responding to a recent opinion piece that questioned slope stability at Site C.
BC Hydro is committed to advancing the Site C project safely and responsibly. Safety is the top consideration in our project design.
We have conducted extensive engineering studies into the geology of the project area – including the dam site – for decades.
The presence of shale bedrock is well documented in the project’s environmental impact statement. This was reviewed by the Site C Joint Review Panel and later approved by the provincial and federal governments in 2014.
Further, building hydro-electric dams on shale bedrock is not uncommon. The environmental impact statement for Site C identified 16 other earthfill dams around the world that were built on similar bedrock.
Since starting construction in 2015, we’ve hit shale bedrock on both the north and south banks.
On the south bank, we’ve removed bedrock to create the area for the concrete foundation that will be placed under the spillway and generating station for stability and seismic protection. We’ve also removed millions of cubic metres of materials on the north bank to create a stable slope for the dam.
The dam safety program for all BC Hydro facilities – including Site C – is rigorous. It’s based on provincial regulations, Canadian Dam Association guidelines and international best practice. The project is also being designed to withstand major events, including unlikely extreme earthquakes and floods.
BC Hydro has a long-standing history of safely operating its facilities throughout British Columbia. Once complete, Site C will provide our customers with safe, clean, dependable and affordable energy for the next 100 years.
— Ken McKenzie, Executive Vice President, Site C Project