VIDEO: Demolition crew topples defunct surge tower at B.C. hydroelectric project

Towers were in operation from 1947 to 2018, and protected 1.8-km long penstocks

And then there were two…

The contractor for BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station project in Campbell River successfully felled one of three historic surge towers Friday morning.

“At about 10:20 am, we detonated precise explosives attached to some of the base girders of the tower so it directionally fell as planned, similar to a large tree, up the penstock corridor,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

The demolition was part of the approximately $1 billion John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project which moved generating facilities underground to make them seismically safer. Currently, the old above-ground structures are being removed.

A 450-metre safety closure radius was put in place around the surge towers, so the two access roads into the site and the surrounding public trails were closed off for the controlled blast event. The contractor InPower BC, with FMI/ASL-JV and subcontractor Pacific Blasting and Demolition leading the actual surge tower removal, obtained a blast permit from the City of Campbell River. People near the site may have heard the blast and wondered what the sound was from.

For the felling process, some of the eight supporting legs of the tower were cut using linear shape charges, with kicker charges used to ensure full metal separation and displacement.

“We will now remove the felled surge tower, with the steel to be recycled,” Watson said. “The second tower may be felled sometime next week.”

The third (south) tower, while not part of the new hydroelectric facilities, is in good condition and will stay in place given it has communications equipment and is a visual aid to the local airport. There is also the heritage value in keeping one tower in place, Watson said.

At 90 metres or 295 feet tall, for a period of time the surge towers were the highest structures on Vancouver Island. The iconic white towers are visible from certain areas of Campbell River, including from boats on the ocean.

They were in operation from 1947 to 2018, and protected the 1.8-km long penstocks that led from the dam to the generating station from short duration water pressure changes that occur when the flow velocity is increased or decreased. They do this by allowing the water to go up, or conversely come down. The surge tanks were half-filled with water and at the same elevation as the upstream John Hart Reservoir.

The old John Hart facility was officially shut down last fall and replaced with a new and improved underground hydroelectric facility. The old facility is being removed.

RELATED: Water to be diverted from generating station tunnels to Elk Falls Canyon

RELATED: Campbell River’s Canyon View Trail loop to be opened up by end of summer


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dragon boaters being sought for a new team in Ladysmith

Men and women just need to bring along their enthusiasm and dedication

Police encourage the public to register their bicycles

It helps to have pictures, make and model in the recovery process from thefts

UPDATED with VIDEO and PHOTOS: One person treated for minor burns in Crofton fire Monday morning

Firefighters were called out at 7 a.m. to a blaze at the Twin Gables Motel

Public engagement on North Cowichan forest reserve begins this month

Consulting firm presents engagement plan at North Cowichan council meeting

SD79 finalizes $106-million budget for 2019-20

$2.1-million increase in revenue from previous year

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Most Read