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Dakota County Board OKs 42 M contract for Byllesby Dam

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:32 AM by ByllesbyAssociation

Dakota County commissioners approved a $4.2 million contract with Voith Hydro Inc. to design and fabricate new turbine and generator equipment for the Byllesby Dam recently.  The contract was approved at the Feb. 13 physical development committee meeting and will appear on the consent agenda at a future County Board meeting for final approval.

The county will replace the dam’s existing three horizontal turbines with two vertical turbines.  The structure won’t produce power for a year but dam operators will manage water levels and the rest of the facility during that time, said Josh Petersen, senior water resources engineer with the county.

The county owns the 107 year old Byllesby Dam, which separates Lake Byllesby from the Cannon River, and runs its federally-regulated hydroelectric facility.   The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission classifies the structure as a “high hazard” because if it failed, extensive damage to humans and property would occur in the Cannon Falls area.

The county has funded fixes to the aging dam totaling about $12 millions in recent years The Legislature authorized $6 million in state bonding money in 2017 to help fund the dam’s upgrades.  The improvements are estimated to total $14million and are included in both the county’’s 2017-2021 and 2018-2022 capital improvement project (CIP) budgets.

Eric Adler (reprinted from February 25 ,2018 Star Tribune)