BC Hydro moves on rip-rap repairs to W.A.C. Bennett Dam

BC Hydro is looking to replace the rocks used to protect the upstream surface of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam.

No dollar figures were available, but the project is expected to take five years until 2020, according to Hydro spokesman Bob Gammer.

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The project is one of about 10 that Hydro wants to undertake to keep the Bennett Dam up and running.

The large rocks, or rip-rap, are used to protect the upstream surface of the dam from both wind and wave erosion by buffering the eroding effects of the water. The rip-rap has deteriorated since the dam was first completed in 1968.

The estimated cost of this project will be part of Hydro's filings with the B.C. Utilities Commission expected to take place this fall.

Hydro applied for, and received, permission from the Agricultural Land Commission to use Crown land along the Williston reservoir as a load out area for the rip-rap.

The project is not the only one Hydro has on the go to keep the dam up and running.

Hydro’s most expensive project involves replacing turbine runners for five of the dam's 10 power-generating units, after being in use since 1968.

"We've put the last one into place," said Gammer. "However, there are some ongoing deficiency work and projects-related work that needs to be cleaned up over the next year or two until this project is completed."

Hydro began replacing the turbines in 2007. The eight-year project has a cost of more than $170 million. It has created 480 person years of direct and indirect employment.


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