WENATCHEE — Potentially dangerous fluctuations in Columbia River water levels above and below Rocky Reach Dam are expected through the winter, as the Chelan County PUD contends with defects that have sidelined five of the dam’s 11 turbines.
The defects reduce the dam’s generation capacity, obliging the PUD to release more water downstream than it normally would under winter flow conditions.
The dangers could include unpredictable flows, fluctuating river levels and increased turbulence just below the dam, the PUD said in a news release.
Boaters and anglers are advised to be alert and stay away from the dam for safety.
The four largest generating units at the dam were shut down late last month after crews detected an oil leak in one of the units and subsequent crack in a stainless steel rod that delivers oil, under pressure to a motor that adjusts the angle of its turbine blades.
The other three units, of the same make and model, were taken off line as a safety precaution.
A fifth unit was already out of service for repairs and will remain off line until likely some time in December.