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John Hart powerhouse flow test could lead to fluctuating water levels on Campbell River

BC Hydro asking public to stay away from the waterway on Wednesday, April 20
John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo

BC Hydro is warning people to steer clear of the Campbell River on Wednesday, April 20.

There is a possibility of fluctuating water flow conditions below the John Hart powerhouse due to a flow test being conducted.

The public warning system from the powerhouse down to Second Island will also engage when the John Hart test takes place.

“The new John Hart powerhouse has been operating since October 2018,” explained BC Hydro Spokesperson Stephen Watson “One of the three project drivers for the new facility was the protection of downstream fish habitat with reliable, constant river flow.

“To date the water bypass facility, located within the underground powerhouse, has worked very well when one or more of the three generators may go offline. When a generator has gone offline, for various reasons, the water has been quickly rediverted through the water bypass facility to maintain river flows that keep downstream fish habitat covered with water.”

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A part of ongoing maintenance and equipment tests, every four years, BC Hydro will be testing the water bypass facility by quickly shutting down one generator at a time until all three are offline.

“We will be verifying the proper automatic response of the water bypass system in redirecting water back into the river,” Watson said. “The test will be closely monitored and provide good information about the equipment in order to maintain future reliability.”

The Campbell River flow may potentially adjust within a range of about 128 cubic metres (m3/s) to about 80 m3/s, though if all goes to plan, the river flow should be steady.

Throughout the testing period, fish habitat within the river will be fully covered with water.

The public is being asked to stay away from the river system during the day on Wednesday, April 20. Temporary safety signage will be placed along the river from the powerhouse downstream to the logging bridge.

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