Unused dam to be removed

A facility used for 48 years to divert water for power generation in Campbell River is being removed this summer.

BC Hydro has awarded the contract work to Quantum Murray LP for the Heber River Diversion Decommissioning Project, located near Gold River.

Hydro and Quantum will be meeting over the next few weeks to further clarify the schedule and work plan. BC Hydro will provide construction updates through the summer as the work evolves.

The project will see the removal of the 10-metre-high, 120-metre-long timber crib dam; the 3.6-kilometre woodstave pipeline; and the pipeline outlet structure. The entire diversion facility footprint will then be remediated and restored to become part of the surrounding natural environment.

The construction updates will include issues such as where the contaminated soil and woodstave timbers from the dam and pipeline will be transported and properly disposed.

Hydro is removing the Heber River Diversion due to its poor condition. The local consultative committee, made up of First Nations, government agencies, stakeholders and BC Hydro, came to a consensus agreement to remove the facility.

The facility is 53 years old and is generally in poor condition. The facility operated for 48 years, but has been out of service since November 2006. It was built to divert water from the Heber River into the Campbell River System for hydroelectric power generation.

The decommissioning work may begin this month and by fall all the dam and pipeline facilities will should be fully removed and remediated. The majority of the re-vegetation work is planned for 2013.

There are numerous environmental and social benefits for the decommissioning:

  • Water will no longer be diverted from the natural course of the Heber River.
  • Upstream fish passage at the dam will be restored and open up fish habitat.
  • About one kilometre of the pipeline and the pipeline outlet works that are a non-conforming use within the Strathcona Provincial Park will be removed.
  • Contaminated soils, from historical treatments, under the woodstave pipelines will be removed and treated.
  • n Wildlife migration will benefit from the removal of the pipeline.

Construction estimates:

  • The overall BC Hydro Heber River footprint is 22.5 hectares.
  • Excavation quantity for Heber River and Hunter Creek channels is about 14,000 cubic metres.
  • Material placement for restored channels and dam site is about 21,500 cubic metres.

Contaminated soil volumes to be removed:

  • Dam, about 6,200 cubic metres.
  • Pipeline, about 6,500 cubic metres.
  • Dam timber volumes, about 875 cubic metres.
  • Pipeline stave volumes, about 1,800 cubic metres.
  • An Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 2,500 cubic metres of water.
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