Mirror Pond to drop for hydro dam leak inspection

Results will help direct plans for century-old Bend dam

BEND, Ore. - PacifiCorp will begin drawing down water levels behind the company's Bend hydro dam on Monday to allow for a safe inspection of the facility and a recently developed leak, the utility said Friday.

As a result, Pacific Power said, residents are likely to notice a further drop in Mirror Pond water levels beyond the already lower-than-normal conditions that have existed since early October due to a leak in a small section of the facility, combined with the end of the irrigation season and reduced water releases upstream.

The rest of their statement:

Reducing the water level further is necessary to allow company personnel to safely access and inspect the entire dam.

The water level will drop gradually over the course of a few days to ensure the action is done in compliance with state environmental protection requirements. The company expects the inspection itself to take place later in the week .

Findings from the inspection will help inform the company's evaluations to address both the current leak and longer-term plans for operation of the 100-year-old facility that has been used to generate electricity for customers and creates the impoundment in a section of the Deschutes River known as Mirror Pond.

The utility said the leak developed on Oct. 2 in one of 13 wooden sections of the dam, called a bay, which is used to regulate how much water is let through the dam into the river channel on the other side.

While the leak affects both electricity generation at the facility and Mirror Pond water levels, it poses no safety risk to the community.

Once the inspection is complete, the company will allow Mirror Pond water levels to gradually rise back to the current, below-normal level behind the dam. Company personnel will continually monitor this process as well, to ensure safety and compliance.

The company will continue to keep the community informed on key developments, the operation of the hydro facility and as conditions around Mirror Pond are affected during the process.

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