TVA To Temporarily Drain Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Reservoir
Oct. 9, 2009
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – TVA will significantly reduce the water level in the upper reservoir at its Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant to perform routine safety inspections at the facility, including the 8,500-foot-long rock-filled dam at the top of the mountain.
The de-watering operation is scheduled to begin Nov. 2. During the maintenance period, TVA will cease power generation at the plant, because water levels will be lowered about 42 feet below minimum levels needed to run the turbines. Enough water will remain in the upper reservoir to protect aquatic life and restart the unit.
TVA will partially drain the upper reservoir, which normally holds more than 700 million gallons of water, into Nickajack Reservoir. When the water is released into Nickajack, the public will likely notice a discoloration of water in the reservoir, similar to what is experienced after a flood.
This discoloration is caused by sediment deposits draining from the upper reservoir. TVA will control the releases to minimize the duration and extent of the discoloration in the river.
A portion of the boat parking area at the base of the mountain will be closed to the public during the outage so crews can store equipment needed for the project. This area will be closed from early October through December.
Once the inspection and maintenance activities are completed – expected to occur in late November – the upper reservoir will be refilled, and normal plant operations will resume.
TVA typically reduces water levels in the upper reservoir at Raccoon Mountain every five to seven years as part of its dam safety inspection program.
TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant produces electricity by pumping water from the Nickajack Reservoir into a reservoir on the top of the mountain. It is then released through turbines and generators inside the mountain where the electricity is produced.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
Barbara Martocci, Knoxville, (865) 632-8632
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000