Neither rain nor snow nor dizzying heights kept the rebuilt Ocoee flume from resuming operation this week in time to help power summer electricity needs.
The historic wooden flume that carries water from the Ocoee No. 2 Dam to the power station has been closed for almost a year while workers replaced a nearly 100-foot section destroyed by a rock slide on April 28, 2010.
“We faced a number of obstacles as we made the repairs, including two 10-inch snow storms,” said Jeff Munsey, Ocoee No. 2 repair project manager. “But we managed the work safely and were able to repair the flume and return it to its original condition.”
Refilling water in the five-mile, elevated flume began on April 18, but Munsey said it will take several more weeks for the flume boards to swell and hold water without leaking.
The flume is built as it was originally in 1911.
Despite the leaks, TVA began generating power at the plant again Wednesday, said TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci in a news release.
She said the leaks, however, did contribute to a mudslide in the Ocoee Gorge on Thursday during heavy rain.
The slide pushed debris into the Ocoee River about two miles downstream from the Ocoee No. 2 Dam. TVA engineers are weighing how to clean up and stabilize the slide area.
Martocci said commercial rafting on the Ocoee River will not be affected.
The flume repair will bring back online 20 megawatts of power.
TVA officials have said that’s enough electricity to run about 11,700 Tennessee Valley homes.
Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...