Upriver Dam Hydroelectric Project Rehabilitation After Failure, Part A: Failure Investigation and Lessons to be Learned

by Reynold A. Hokenson, R. W. Beck & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA,
W. Lowell Shelton, R. W. Beck & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA,
William M. Verigin, R. W. Beck & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA,
George W. Miller, R. W. Beck & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA,
Mallur R. Nandagopal, R. W. Beck & Associates, Seattle, WA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87


A lightning strike caused electrical failure at Spokane's two Upriver power plants, resulting in the river overtopping Project embankments, and causing nearly 11. 5 million in damage to the facilities. The City moved swiftly to expedite an investigation and to repair the damage. The failure investigation uncovered the fatal flaws of the Project design and operation which had allowed the accident to occur. These included deficiencies in the following areas: reservoir freeboard, electrical systems, mechanical systems, emergency action plan, operator training and staffing, equipment maintenance, management and budgeting procedures, and regulatory agencies review. The emergency evaluation indicated that no immediate remedial work was required. The rehabilitation investigations and preparation of contract documents were, however, put on a fast track to allow the resumption of power production and the flow of revenue from its power sales as quickly as possible.

Subject Headings: Dam failures | Forensic engineering | Failure analysis | Electrical systems | Emergency management | Hydro power | Rehabilitation | Electrical equipment

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