Deer Lake Power penstocks to be replaced

Cory Hurley
Published on August 16, 2014
Pipes destined for Deer Lake Power to replace the penstocks are off-loaded at the Corner Brook Port on Friday. — Photo by Cory Hurley/The Western Star

The penstocks at Deer Lake Power are finally being replaced.

Some of the wooden structures that bring water down from the upper Grand River to the powerhouse on Deer Lake have been replaced over the years, and maintenance and repairs have been an ongoing project for the subsidiary of Kruger Inc., the owner of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. However, some have been in place since the station was built in the 1920s.

New piping began arriving  from Texas at the Corner Brook Port Friday, and will continue to be off-loaded today. It will be trucked to Deer Lake where the extensive replacement project will begin. Jackie Chow, the port manager and chief executive officer, said it is the first of three shipments of pipes the port is expected to receive.

For years, the aging structures have been a concern for residents and Deer Lake municipal representatives. Leaks and breaks have created issues with things such as winter maintenance.

Replacing the penstocks is one of the capital upgrades mentioned by Daniel Archambault, the executive vice-president of Kruger’s industrial products division, with help of the $110-million government loan announced in February.

Several large leaks were repaired in 2012, and inspections have continued.

There is a tendency for the structures held together with large clamps and bolts to leak depending on weather conditions and water pressure. In 2005, the replacement of one of the penstocks was said to have been part of an eight-year replacement project.

It had been in the works for two years at that time, and one steel penstock per year was expected to replace the old wooden structures.