CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – The John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project has commissioned its automated water bypass facility.

Three water bypass valves are in the new underground powerhouse, which will protect downstream fish habitat from river flow reductions.

B.C. Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said in a release that the water bypass facility was commissioned in early May on manual control.

“The final test was on November 8 when we had the three new generators, which have all been commissioned, shut down at the same time to mimic a fully facility shutdown and have the required water flow redirected through the bypass facility to its full capacity to keep downstream flows in place,” Watson said in the statement.

During the river flow test, the Campbell River flow was increased from 84 m3/s (cubic metres per second) to about 124 m3/s. B.C. Hydro shut down the three generators, with the bypass facility automatically kicking in, regulating river flow back to 84 m3/s which kept fish habitat covered with water and unharmed.

Now that the water bypass facility is on automatic standby, it means water flow in Campbell River will still be regulated in the event one of the generators goes offline.

The John Hart project can provide nearly 10% more power output than the old facility, which was finally shut down on October 11th.

Besides more power output, the new facility is now seismically strong, will better protect fish habitat, and offer reliable energy generation.