Fort Loudoun Dam navigation lock closed
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“We’ve had to increase the discharge rate from Fort Loudoun dam, located near Knoxville, to 70,000 cubic feet per second,” TVA spokesman Travis Brickey said. “It looks like that will be increased later today. Because of the increase, the river is closed to commercial river traffic and the navigation lock is closed at Fort Loudoun.The water is running too fast to safety operate the navigation lock.”
TVA is currently releasing about 518,000 gallons per second per second through the power turbines and over the spillways at Fort Loudoun Dam, Brickey said. “Before we even think about spilling water , the generation turbines are at full capacity. When we can’t move any more water through those turbines then we have to spill.”
Heavy rains have TVA operating all of the dams along the Tennessee River at maximum generating capacity.
The authority is moving water through the dams along the Tennessee River because they do not have the storage capacity as do the larger tributary reservoirs such as Cherokee and Douglas Lake, which are currently being used to hold water .
“We manage for events like this,” Brickey said. “An event like this is the perfect example of why TVA operates the reservoir system the way we do. After Labor Day every year, we bring the reservoirs — especially the tributary reservoirs like Cherokee, Douglas, Fontana, and Norris — down to our lowest water elevations during the winter because that’s when our area receives the most rain and runoff. What we’re doing now is actually storing water into those big tributary reservoirs.
“We’re not releasing much water from them because we don’t want to add to the water that is in the Tennessee River.”
At one point on Tuesday, at Kentucky Dam, the last dam on the Tennessee River before it joins the Ohio River, TVA was releasing about 1.5 million gallons per second through the turbines and over the spillways.
“The water that is falling right now and going directly into those main river lakes, we’re trying to move through the system,” Brickey said. “All the while, we’re storing water in the tributary system. Once this rain event moves out, we will gradually start releasing that water we’ve stored and moving it through the system so we bring everybody back down to where they are supposed to be this time of year.”
TVA is coordinating with the managers of the Calderwood and Chilhowee Dams in Blount and Monroe counties, which are were formerly part of Tapoco-APGI, ALCOA Inc.’s hydroelectric project.