White Rock hydro system turns 65; dam repairs to extend service life

White Rock, NS – The White Rock hydro facility is celebrating its 65th birthday this year, and it’s a good time to undertake repairs that will help extend its useful life.

Work got underway this week on the dam embankment to ensure it remains stable, prevent future leaks and to meet current Canadian Dam Safety guidelines. This work will require drainage of the White Rock canal, which is scheduled to begin early next week.

“A lot of us think about retiring when we turn 65, but not our hydro systems – they have decades of great working life left ahead them,” said Tim Curry, Hydro Supervisor with Nova Scotia Power. “Just like the rest of us, though, they benefit from good upkeep, so we regularly assess our hydroelectric facilities and perform maintenance to ensure they will continue to provide clean, renewable energy for future generations.”

Nova Scotia Power are working with federal Fisheries staff to safely relocate any fish in the canal while the work is underway, and minimize any impacts on the local fish habitat.

Crews will set up a perimeter and warning signs over the next few days at the White Rock dam site entrance and the area of the canal to be drained. The public is asked to take safety precautions while this work is underway by avoiding travel through this area until the project is wrapped up over the next three weeks.

“The safety of our employees, contractors, and the public is our top priority,” Curry said. “So we’d really ask for the public’s cooperation in ensuring we can carry out this work safely.”

The 3.4 megawatt hydroelectric station at White Rock was built in 1952. It is part of the Black River hydro system, which also includes generating stations at Methals, Hollow Bridge, Lumsden, and Hell’s Gate. White Rock is the youngest station on the Black River system; Hell’s Gate dates back to 1931. Together, the generators on the Black River system produce enough electricity to power more than 10,000 homes.

Nova Scotia Power owns and maintains 33 hydro generating stations positioned along 17 river systems across the province. In 2016, 28 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity came from renewable sources, including eight per cent from hydro and tidal generation. Hydro will help us achieve our 2020 requirement for 40 per cent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources.