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Richard B. Russell Phase III Completion Report: Impacts of Four-Unit Pumpback Operation

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Final rept.

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The U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, operates Richard B. Russell RBR Dam and Lake which is located on the Savannah River approximately 16 miles southeast of Elberton, Georgia. RBR Lake is located between two other Federal projects Hartwell Dam and Lake on the upstream side, and J. Strom Thurmond JST Dam and Lake on the downstream side. The RBR powerhouse contains four conventional generation units, and four reversible pump-turbines. The pump-turbines can be used to generate power, or they can be reversed and used as pumps to move water from JST Lake to RBR Lake during periods of low power demand to replenish upstream storage for subsequent peak generation needs. Potential environmental concerns associated with pump storage include entrainment of fish from the afterbay JST Lake during pumping, an increase in entrainment of fish from the forebay RBR Lake during generation resulting from generating with eight units versus four, and changes in the water quality regime of both RBR and JST Lakes. In view of these potential environmental concerns, the Savannah District initiated an exhaustive study in 1986, the Richard B. Russell Fish Entrainment Study. The major objectives of this study were to provide baseline data on the fish community of JST Lake, predict entrainment and fish mortality, develop fish protection measures, and monitor entrainment through the units. Ongoing water quality studies in JST and RBR Lakes were modified and expanded to supplement the fishery studies and address water quality concerns. No study identified any factor which indicated that commercial operation of the pumpback units at RBR would produce irreparable impacts to the aquatic ecosystems at RBR and JST Lakes.

Subject Categories:

  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Pumps, Filters, Pipes, Tubing, Fittings and Valves

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