BC Hydro completes seismic upgrade of Coquitlam Dam
COQUITLAM – BC Hydro has completed the $65-million seismic upgrade of the Coquitlam Dam, which included construction of a new earth and rock fill embankment downstream from the original dam at Coquitlam Lake Reservoir.
The new dam is 30 meters high and 300 meters long. More than 4,000 cubic meters of concrete, 65,000 kilograms of steel, and 300,000 cubic meters of glacial till, sand, gravel and rock went into the making of the dam. This significant achievement ensures the first hydro system to supply electricity to Vancouver will continue to provide clean, reliable power for generations.
“Investing in this heritage asset helps secure a reliable supply of clean energy for the Lower Mainland,” said Richard Neufeld, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Much of the growth in electricity demand will be in Metro Vancouver, so ensuring the longevity of a power system so close to the province’s major population centre is important in helping us meet our current and future energy needs.”
Water from Coquitlam Lake travels through a 3.9-kilometre tunnel to Buntzen Lake, where it runs through a power station that supplied the first hydro-generated power to Vancouver, beginning in 1903. The station was originally served by a 4.5-meter high dam on Coquitlam Lake, which was replaced with a 30-meter dam in 1913, still in place today.
The new dam was completed with the support and efforts of the Kwikwetlem First Nation, Metro Vancouver, regulatory agencies, local governments, local stakeholders, JJM Construction Ltd. and BC Hydro staff.
“BC Hydro worked with all of these groups to ensure that any environmental impacts from the dam’s construction were mitigated in keeping with our goal of ensuring our projects meet the highest environmental standards,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro Senior Vice-President of Engineering, Aboriginal Relations and Generation.
To minimize the project’s environmental footprint, disturbed areas will be re-vegetated. In addition, at the foot of the dam, BC Hydro constructed a salmon spawning channel and expanded the rearing pond. There is also a fish trap – part of the $1-million Kwikwetlem Sockeye Restoration Program, which is aiding the return of sockeye to Coquitlam Lake.
The Coquitlam dam and reservoir are located within Metro Vancouver’s Coquitlam watershed, which provides not only water for BC Hydro generation, but also municipal drinking water, recreation opportunities, as well as fisheries and wildlife habitat.
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Source: BC Hydro News