Safety review of dam finds problems with sluice gates

A safety review of the Roxburgh dam has found shortcomings in the reliability of the dam's sluice gates.

A breakdown of the independent comprehensive safety review of the dam, owned by Contact Energy, was received at a Clutha Management Committee meeting, held in Cromwell.

It included reviewing the dam's safety and landslide management programme and all plant, control, protection and communication systems, operation, maintenance and testing procedures critical to dam safety.

A report by Central Otago District Council emergency management officer Hamish Keith says Contact Energy has not completed a Potential Impact Classification study for the dam but the downstream effects of a failure of the dam "clearly indicated that a study should be considered".

"There are a number of shortcomings affecting the reliability of the sluice gates and these should be addressed to increase the reliability of operations. As a minimum, the capacity of the existing lifting systems should be increased," Mr Keith said.

Minor problems had also been identified with the auxiliary penstock intake valve and gullet sump pumps.

"A number of recommendations have been suggested to improve the reliability of these systems," he said.

Committee member and Contact Energy hydro project manager Neil Gillespie, who declared an interest before the item was discussed, said sluice gate work at the dam had been completed in the past 15 years but international standards were constantly being reviewed.

The Southland Times