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Hydro shutting down generating station for fish screen cleaning

COURTENAY, B.C.- BC Hydro will be shutting down the Puntledge generating station this week for some routine work.

From Tuesday through Thursday, crews will shut down the station to clean the fish screens inside the penstock, according to a release from Hydro’s Stephen Watson.

In his release, Watson noted that they have seen “a bit more water coming into the Comox Lake reservoir”, so crews will provide some extra flow down the river during the station shutdown.

The fish screens are designed to screen the out-migrating salmon that may enter it back into the river and not pass through the generating station. Watson noted that the screens are cleaned at key times of the year, to help with the screen efficiency.

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According to his release, the water release from the Comox dam down the Puntledge is currently at about 40 cubic metres per second, as of Monday afternoon. That flow will increase to about 45 cubic metres per second on Tuesday through Thursday.

All of the water will be passed below the Puntledge diversion dam and past Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls. Hydro is asking residents to stay away from the river due to the higher flows between the diversion dam and the generating station. That’s about a 5 kilometres stretch of the river.

Watson said other areas of the Puntledge have no high flow safety notices in place, given the flow rate is in line with typical flows for this time of year.

Once the penstock and generating station are back in service by Friday morning, and running at full capacity, the water release from the Comox dam will remain around 40-45 cubic metres per second.

The Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls area of the river will go back to seasonal flow rates and therefore, the public safety advisory will be lifted.

Watson concluded that the Comox Lake reservoir is at about 134.4 metres, and that Hydro does not like the level to go above 134.4 metres this time of year.

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