Make the McKenzie Connection!

Canal report coming

EWEB to hear general manager's recommendations

EUGENE: At next Tuesday's Eugene Water & Electric Board meeting, utility commissioners will hear from General Manager Frank Lawson and his recommendations on what to do with the aging Leaburg hydroelectric project.

The facility includes a dam, canal, forebay, penstocks, powerhouse, tailrace, and substation. Constructed in the 1920s with reinforced concrete and steel, the dam structure impounds run-of-the-river flows on the McKenzie River and diverts water into the Leaburg Canal which travels approximately 4.5 miles downstream to the powerhouse.

The four proposed alternatives for the future configuration of the project include:

Alternative 1, which would involve the full removal of all facilities to pre-project conditions – as if the Leaburg Project was never built.

Under Alternative 2, EWEB would fully renovate all facilities back to peak performance configuration. Work would address structural issues by removing and rebuilding certain parts of the canal, and address the seepage problem by lining the entire canal with a High-Density Polyethylene (heavy plastic) barrier.

Alternative 3 would include a mix of a "return-to-service" and "stormwater conveyance" strategies. This proposal would include adding a new powerhouse higher up the canal at the Luffman Spillway (about 1 mile from the dam). Additional work would include repairs and alterations to the canal downstream of the new powerhouse to transition it into a stormwater channel. Alternative 3 also compares the costs of repairs and alterations to the potential power and revenue generation EWEB would be able to recoup. It would also preserve the utility's water rights for power generation.

Under Alternative 4, EWEB would decommission the canal, combining "storm-water conveyance" alterations to sections of the canal with the restoration of other parts of the Leaburg Project to pre-project conditions - including a new spillway at Johnson Creek and modifying the Luffman spillway. The utility notes Alternative 4 would be "flexible" by converting short-term risk reduction measures into a long-term solution.

Full removal (Alternative 1) or Full restoration) (Alternative 2) would be the most expensive due to the extensive construction and repairs required throughout the entire project and facilities.


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