Potential Improvements in the Water Quality of the Savannah River Downstream of the J. Strom Thurmond Dam
Parrott, D. L.
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Over the years since the Corps of Engineers hydropower plants on the Savannah River have been in operation, successive and recurring failures in the generators and transformers presented a need to look at the overall rehabilitation requirements in order to achieve safe and reliable power production. However, the Corps of Engineers went beyond just the restoration of reliable power production, and has used this opportunity to incorporate both hydropower improvements and environmental restoration as a part of the Major Rehab project. In order to help offset the low dissolved oxygen (DO) level in the tailrace during the late summer and early fall, the new turbines will employ the new Auto-Venting Technology, as developed by TVA and Voith-Seimens. This technology will provide at least a 2 parts per million (ppm) increase in the DO levels in the tailrace whenever the ambient DO is 3 ppm or less. With the first of seven units installed, DO testing was initiated in the fall of 2002 to assess the capability of the new turbines to improve the DO levels over a variety of conditions. Initial tests for the first of seven turbines indicate that the DO improvements exceed expectations. Further tests will be conducted over the next 3 years to determine the total impact of the DO levels on the ecosystem downstream of the J. Strom Thurmond Dam.