Brownlee Hydroelectric Dam Headgate Drums

Maintaining Safety: Idaho Power makes operational improvements

The Brownlee Hydroelectric Dam is Idaho Power’s largest plant and includes five generators. It is the most upstream dam (total of three) on the Hells Canyon Complex. The plant was originally built in 1959. The client approached DCI’s industrial team to assess the four headgate hoist drums at the Brownlee Dam. The standard operating procedure is to have three headgates operating at all times, with one on standby as a spare. Drums for the headgates have cracked and been repaired in the past.

To assist Idaho Power with understanding the significance of the cracks, DCI engineers conducted a failure analysis of a malfunctioning headgate and determined one headgate drum was failing. With this information, the other drums were assessed and determined to have similar characteristics making them susceptible to the same failure. Eventually all four drums will be replaced. DCI is currently designing the replacement headgate drums, which will be fabricated and installed during Brownlee Dam’s regularly scheduled maintenance. Operating with efficient equipment, Idaho Power staff improved safety of the dam.

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Cambridge, Idaho
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