Colorado's Big Thompson hydroelectric plant reopens after flood damages

Colorado Floods

Editor's Note: This article republished by permission from HydroWorld.com's sister site, Power-Eng.com.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the Big Thompson hydroelectric power plant in Colorado is back online after a September flood caused damages.

During the flood, the Colorado-Big Thompson River rerouted itself at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon where the plant is located and buried the tailrace, or where the water leaves the plant, under 12 feet of sediment. The river widened from 30 feet to 300 feet and erased the afterbay of the plant. A large tree trunk was driven partially through the plant’s upstream wall.

Workers ran backup generators during the flood event, then spent months clearing debris and testing equipment.

The Big Thompson plant is one of six plants on the Colorado-Big Thompson projects. The six other facilities were able to return to service within a matter of weeks.

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