Innovative Reregulation Weirs

by Gary E. Hauser, (M.ASCE), Engr.; Engineering Laboratory, TVA, Norris, TN,
James A. Niznik, Engr.; TVA Fossil and Hydropower, Chattanooga, TN,
W. Gary Brock, Engr.; TVA Navigation and Systems Modification, Knoxville, TN,
Richard M. Shane, (M.ASCE), Engr.; TVA Environmental Quality, Knoxville, TN,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 5, Pg. 64-66

Document Type: Feature article


Since their construction, hydropower dams have generated more than just power for the Tennessee Valley Authority, they also generated concerns about their effects on river flow and aquatic life. When the dams aren't releasing water, the rivers can almost run dry; and when they do generate power, the flows can reach high velocities and frequently contain waters from the deepest layers of the reservoir, waters whose reduced oxygen content could hurt or drive off aquatic life. These concerns led the TVA to sponsor the design and construction of two innovative types of weirs: a timber-crib and a labyrinth. These small dams, located downstream from the generators, regulate the water flow and, in the labyrinth's case, help reoxgenate the water. On both rivers, the water level no longer fluctuates wildly and miles of river have been brought back to life. The article discusses the problems faced by the TVA, the steps taken to design the weirs to solve those problems and respective advantages and disadvantages of the two styles.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Weirs | Water content | Dams | Rivers and streams | River flow | Innovation

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