January 27, 2021

site c dam geotechnical issues

“Since there are earthquakes in this part of the world, this is a very important issue.”, The Site C project is located in a geographical area filled with faults that can become critically stressed during fracking operations, which are poised to expand significantly in the region to supply gas for the, . A letter addressed to NDP Leader John Horgan is urging the province to halt the construction of the Site C dam while geotechnical issues are investigated. city, Vancouver couple accused of vaccine queue jumping, Elephant herd frolics in snow at Tucson zoo, CTV News Vancouver at Six for Tuesday, January 26, 2021. “Literally, if we look at some of the academic articles that have been written about this, we could be talking about a dam that’s going to crack or slide in the case of an earthquake,” said McCullough, a former officer for a large hydroelectric facility in Portland, Oregon, who has studied the Site C project extensively. He described it as “pretty much an emanation of BC Hydro, with a few additions.”, “That is a management board,” he said. “They swell and shrink. civil servants, including the senior bureaucrat who prepares Site C dam documents for cabinet, knew in May 2019 that the project faced serious geotechnical problems due to its “weak foundation,” according to documents obtained by The Narwhal. Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner after BC Hydro missed a legal deadline for responding, we received 2,247 pages of documents almost seven months after filing the request. “We’re talking about a possible lack of stability under the dam itself,” U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough said in an interview. Around that same time, BC Hydro learned of a host of “geotechnical problems” at the Site C project where the dam has only been partially built. And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. The other representative is Wanamaker, who in 2017 challenged the commission’s final findings about the Site C project in a six-page letter to the commission that seemed to suggest the new NDP government was searching for a rationale to continue the project. “Simple flushing of a borehole has immediately raised the groundwater levels in an extensive section of the right abutment and has caused displacements on bedding planes. civil servants, including the senior bureaucrat who prepares Site C dam documents for cabinet, knew in May 2019 that the project faced serious geotechnical problems due to its “weak foundation” and the … “That’s entirely aside from the economics of the case which have been abysmal for some time and are getting worse.”, Forest in the Peace River valley in the Site C dam flood zone. Scrapping B.C.’s Site C dam could lead to $116 million in savings every year: energy economist. But whether or not Milburn’s findings will be made public remains to be seen. BC Hydro has also not answered the commission’s detailed questions about the project, which include querries about geotechnical issues and no-bid contracts. Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after allegedly flying to Yukon for COVID-19 vaccine. “I think we’re finally seeing some kind of response to the question of why the heck did they [decide to] build an L-shaped dam when nobody’s ever done that in the world before.” (BC Hydro has pointed to several examples of L-shaped dams around the world, but those dams are not earthfilled like the Site C dam. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS). Oct 15, 2020. The advisory board also said the Site C dam’s design — changed to an unconventional L-shape, much to the concern of retired BC Hydro engineer Vern Ruskin — needed to be checked. Opinion: Information revealed to First Nation during court battle suggests B.C. gym teacher suspended after throwing dumbbell at student's face, Council approves Canada goose cull in B.C. Harry Swain, who chaired the joint review panel that examined the Site C project for the federal and provincial governments, said it is “anomalous” that project assurance board reports have been kept secret by the B.C. Also on the Site C project assurance board is Joe Ehasz, the California-based program manager for AECOM Energy & Construction, a company that had received $225,000 in Site C dam contracts by May 2017. Those signing the letter urge Premier John Horgan to appoint an independent panel to assess geotechnical issues at Site C and to release those findings before making a decision about the future of the dam. It also found that BC Hydro had a historical pattern of over-forecasting energy demand. At a provincial election campaign event, Horgan said diversion of the river was needed to meet the project's timelines and to stay on budget. The May 2019 report from the technical advisory board — shared with BC Hydro executives and the project assurance board members on May 31 of that year — identifies six “significant” technical risks. 'This individual fought for his life': Man recovering after cougar attack north of Whistler, B.C. (The Narwhal is releasing the FOI response in its entirety to the public and it can be accessed at the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.). The utility could not immediately be reached for comment. We’ve drafted a plan to make this year our biggest yet, but we need your support to make it all happen. A second risk is the right bank foundation, which forms the shorter arm of the radically re-designed L-shaped structure. The technical advisory board found the stability of the dam is “a significant risk and the hazards associated with the weak foundation have been adequately recognized.”. They say an independent team of experts should determine if the problems can be resolved and at what cost. In late January, The Narwhal submitted a freedom of information request to BC Hydro, asking for all Site C project assurance board agendas, minutes, reports and recommendations. deputy finance minister was appointed in early August and he is due to release a report in the coming weeks. The amount of the increase is redacted from the documents, which show Nunn abstained from the vote due to his prior working relationship with Klohn Crippen. The open letter, which includes signatories such as former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen, Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations and 16 other former CEOs, scientists […] a former deputy minister of finance and secretary to the Treasury Board, as a special Site C project advisor who will work with BC Hydro and the Site C project assurance board to examine the project and provide the government with independent advice. Help power our ad-free, non‑profit journalism. Open letter urges B.C. In 2017 and 2018, more than 10,000 earthquakes occurred in the wider area, including one that shook the Site C dam construction site in November 2018, forcing workers to evacuate. civil servants, including the senior bureaucrat who prepares. Dam spillway costs would increase materially due to design changes and reservoir clearing costs would be higher than allocated for in the budget, the assurance board also learned. Further construction of the dam across the Peace River near Fort St. John requires diversion of the waterway, which the letter argues could be a "costly and potentially catastrophic mistake.". Sarah Cox. agendas, minutes, reports and recommendations. Harry Swain, who chaired the joint review panel that examined the Site C project for the federal and provincial governments, said it is “. Along with embattled engineering giant SNC Lavalin, also a major donor to the BC Liberal Party, Klohn Crippen began to receive direct award Site C contracts after former Premier Gordon Campbell announced in 2010 that the project would proceed to review. Those signing the letter urge Premier John Horgan to appoint an independent panel to assess geotechnical issues at Site C and to release those findings before making a decision about the future of the dam. The other representative is Wanamaker, who in 2017. challenged the commission’s final findings about the Site C project in a six-page letter to the commission that seemed to suggest the new NDP government was searching for a rationale to continue the project. Geotechnical engineering, also known as geotechnics, is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials.It uses the principles and methods of soil mechanics and rock mechanics for the solution of engineering problems and the design of engineering works. The site, in Swain’s words, is composed of, “relatively youthful and unpetrified sediments, some of which appear in the form of weak shales, mudstones, siltstones and some of which appear in the form of clay.”. Site C project assurance board documents reveal an important meeting took place at the end of May 2019, when the Site C dam technical advisory board — a panel of engineering and construction experts — convened in Fort St. John and Vancouver over a three-day period. It’s not the sort of geology that you’d really want to go out and put a multi-million tonne dam on, or even a roller compacted concrete powerhouse.”. Those efforts should include making it a “high priority” to develop a hydrogeological model of the right bank to determine how the bank would respond to reservoir filling, the board said. However, Summy zeroed in on the “poor” quality of the finished surface in the river diversion tunnels, recommending a finishing crew begin work as soon as possible. SNC Lavalin received a direct award contract for $131 million, also to design core components of the dam. Premier John Horgan created the project assurance board in December 2017 after his government approved the dam and added another $2 billion to the project budget. Site C COVID-19. The site where the dam is being built contains “bedding planes” between layers of sedimentary shale that have poor shear strength, meaning they could suddenly shift under modest amounts of force. Open letter urges B.C. Utilities Commission that “the foundation enhancement costs are expected to be much higher than initially expected.”, The third-generation Boon family farm sits within the 128 kilometres of river valley that is set to be flooded for the Site C dam. “If anything, it almost appears in some respects that Site C oversight is not as good as what we’ve had here,” said David Vardy, the former chair of Newfoundland’s public utilities board. will flood 128 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, putting Indigenous burial sites and traditional hunting and trapping grounds, some of Canada’s best farmland and habitat for more than 100 species at risk of extinction under up to 50 metres of water. The independent commission found the Site C dam’s final price tag could exceed $12 billion and the same amount of energy could be produced by a suite of renewables, including wind, for $8.8 billion or less. Yet British Columbians — the owners of the publicly funded dam on the Peace River — didn’t learn about. (BC Hydro) It appears that they may not have.”. A rainfall event of some 2 inches in a half hour on July 20, 2016 caused some of this slope failure. BC Hydro also said there was a “likely” risk that Highway 29 budgets are “based on incomplete designs, with limited construction market data.” To accommodate the Site C dam’s reservoir, about 30 kilometres of the highway in six different sections, including four bridges, will have to be relocated. Klohn Crippen was given a direct-award Site C contract for $104 million to design essential components of the dam, including the main civil works, generating station and spillways, according to the documents. Its projected construction costs have ballooned from an initially estimated $6.6 billion to $12 billion. Swain and others — including members of the Peace Valley Landowner Association and. Top B.C. If completed, the Site C dam will flood 128 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, putting Indigenous burial sites and traditional hunting and trapping grounds, some of Canada’s best farmland and habitat for more than 100 species at risk of extinction under up to 50 metres of water. (Donations to political parties by corporations and unions were banned in B.C. As of July this year, more than 4,600 workers were employed on the Site C hydroelectric dam project, according to BC Hydro, about 3,400 of whom were British Columbians. troubling questions about who in government knew about the project’s climbing costs and deepening geotechnical woes, when they knew it and why the information was not made public. A further risk is the thermal performance of roller compacted concrete and cracking. Cracks in the roller compacted concrete have “been. The technical advisory board also flagged the earthfill dam foundation and grouting as a significant risk. BC Hydro also said it hasn’t figured out how to resolve grave geotechnical issues, which require shoring up the unstable foundation of the earthen dam, powerhouse and spillways. "Now is not the time to be digging an even deeper financial hole on a costly project that may, given proper independent scrutiny, be found to be so structurally unsound as to be too risky to complete," the letter states. He cautioned against “pressure to accept a substandard product to finish on time” and noted the application of shotcrete — sprayed concrete — in the tunnels was “inconsistent.”, By Sept. 1, 2019, the Site C dam’s entire contingency fund had been spent, with five years of construction still ahead, according to documents obtained by The Narwhal. That makes you some serious Narwhal material. Photo: Garth Lenz / The Narwhal. Peace River – Site C Hydro Project Stage 2 Engineering Services Summary Report Page ix Report No. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS) P05032A02-A November 2009 Not to be reproduced without the permission of BC Hydro EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As described in the Stage 1 Report, in 2005 the BC Hydro Board of Directors identified the need to review the design and cost estimate for Site C. McCullough’s report, commissioned by the Peace Valley Landowner Association, said the dam will conservatively cost an additional $2.1 billion and ratepayers will save an initial $116 million a year if the project is scrapped and the same amount of energy is procured from other sources. MacLaren, the long-time assistant deputy energy minister who prepares Site C documents for cabinet and reviews BC Hydro’s quarterly Site C progress reports to the B.C. The independent commission found the Site C dam’s final price tag could exceed $12 billion and the same amount of energy could be produced by a suite of renewables, including wind, for $8.8 billion or less. The letter signed by former Hydro president Marc Eliesen, former fisheries minister David Anderson, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. McCullough said Milburn’s appointment underscores the problem of “who guards the guards.”, “Normally, in a construction project, you want as clean a chain of command as possible,” he said. The Narwhal is ad-free, non-profit and supported by readers like you. during the COVID-19 pandemic? 56 reports of 'adverse events' following COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C. government until now and key information is still being withheld. On Sept. 1, 2019, for instance, nearly one year before the public learned of significant problems and a soaring price tag for the Site C dam, BC Hydro submitted a weekly status report to the assurance board listing the overall health and cost of the dam’s main civil works as “red,” meaning the civil works — the dam structure, generating station and spillways — were in deep trouble. care homes dated 2 days before election, Protesters show support for farmers in India. a former officer for a large hydroelectric facility in Portland, Oregon, who has studied the Site C project extensively. to ratepayers was a front-and-centre issue in Newfoundland, where the over budget dam on Labrador’s Churchill River will require a bail-out from federal taxpayers to avoid a minimum 50 per cent increase in provincial hydro rates. "BC Hydro has been working hard to make sure that we get the project in place as quickly as possible in a cost-effective way," he added. At a provincial election campaign event, Horgan said diversion of the river was needed to meet the project’s timelines and to stay on budget. Swain said the safety review should follow investigations by independent geotechnical engineering experts. The site where the dam is being built contains, “bedding planes” between layers of sedimentary shale that have poor shear strength, meaning they could suddenly shift under modest amounts of force. Photo: Jayce Hawkins / The Narwhal, Stability of the dam found to be a 'significant risk' in May 2019, more than a year before information about deepening geotechnical problems and escalating costs were shared with the public, Two top B.C. The advisory board also said the Site C dam’s design — changed to an unconventional L-shape. 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