Construction Updates

Summer Construction Update

July 2020 – Starting this month, the second phase of work for 2020 will start at Middle Dam and the work is expected to conclude in early October.

In July, workers will replace the gatehouse floor and grate with much of the work taking place in the gatehouse’s interior.   Installation of the deep gates will occur on the weekends of July 17, July 24, July 31, and August 7.  Scheduled white water releases may be extended by 12 to 24 hours to accommodate the repairs.  Deep gate repair work will occur on 24-hour shifts with minimal light and noise impacts. All final components of the deep gate repair project will conclude in early August.

Steel plating, which will attach to the upstream walls of piers #4 and #5, will be installed in early August through late September.  In parallel, other tasks will also take place that includes realigning and replacing any missing concrete logs on piers 2 and 4, replacing the gatehouse floor, and changing out the existing box tubes on Pier 4.  The final component of work, removing plating and conducting structural work on the downstream side of Pier #2, will occur from mid-September through early October.  All work is expected to conclude by the second week of October.

With the exception of the deep gate installation, the work will take place during daylight hours on Monday through Friday.   During the deep gate replacement and steel plate installation, there may be slight delays on the bridge to accommodate workers’ safe passage and movement of equipment.  No significant recreational impacts are anticipated through the duration of work, and contract monitors will be on-site to help ensure public safety.

Should there be any significant changes to the current maintenance timeline or scope, stakeholders will be notified accordingly. Brookfield Renewable will continue to update this website to keep stakeholders apprised of the activities and schedule.

Planned Repair Schedule for Middle Dam 

*Please note, this schedule is subject to change pending FERC approval. Regular construction and recreation updates will be shared regarding the various phases of this project. 

 

Year 1 Project Planned Schedule

This photo diagram shows the various repair components for Middle Dam.

Late winter through spring, 2020

  • Pier repairs
  • Replace Shoal Gates

 

Summer through late fall, 2020

  • Pier repairs
  • Replace Deep Gates
  • Rebuild gatehouse floor, structure
  • Construction laydown areas & angler trail

 

Year 2 Project Planned Schedule*

Winter through spring, 2021

  • Pier repairs
  • Upstream spillway repairs
  • Install gates in south spillway

 

Summer through fall, 2021

  • Pier repairs
  • Downstream crane pad installation
  • Downstream sluice gate apron repairs

 

Year 3 Project Planned Schedule*

Winter through fall, 2022

  • Pier repairs
  • Downstream/upstream deep gate apron repairs

 

Year 4 Project Planned Schedule*  

Winter through fall, 2023

  • Pier repairs
  • Install fishing access, walkways, & handrails
  • Downstream shoal gate and apron repairs
  • Embankment repairs/reinforcements

 

 

FERC Issues Head Pond Variance for Winter Work

In order to support ongoing repairs to Middle Dam, a temporary head pond variance was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on February 25, 2020, for Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC (BWPH).  Under license article 402, the order grants a temporary head pond elevation of 1436.0 msl during the winter of 2020 through 2024 at Richardson Lake. The anticipated timing of this additional drawdown would be from approximately March 1 through April 15.

Some of the scheduled work will require a lower than normal winter drawdown to allow for the repairs to be completed in the dry and during the reduced recreational season in late winter. Planning these repairs during the late winter months significantly decreases impacts to lake users and other stakeholders.  Due to the annual variability in precipitation, weather, overall runoff conditions as well as the FERC license, Water Quality Certification and Settlement Agreement requirements, BWPH will continue to balance all requirements and aligning the Lake’s refill rate as much as reasonably possible throughout the duration of the Middle Dam repair project.

Winter Update

The latest update from Brookfield Renewable includes recent developments with permitting for the Middle Dam Repair Project as well as provide an overview of necessary maintenance work scheduled for 2020.

As previously stated, the change from a reconstruction project to a repair of the existing structure significantly minimizes the scope of work and impacts to the environment and local stakeholders. With the material change expected to result in fewer permit requirements, Brookfield Renewable will be withdrawing its HP30 permit with the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC). On December 19, Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC, filed a letter with the LUPC to notify the agency of the intent to withdraw and refile a new application. A copy of this letter is available on the Documents section of this webpage. A new permit application for the reduced scope of work, mainly pertaining to temporary staging areas will be submitted in early 2020.

In the meantime, minor maintenance activities will take place starting in February through April at Middle Dam. The scope of maintenance work includes rebuilding the gatehouse floors and installing new gates of the same size. This maintenance work will not change the footprint of the existing structure, nor will it alter the overall aesthetics of the facility.

Some of the maintenance work is expected to take place seven days a week and after dusk; however, the timing will vary throughout the duration of this project phase. Due to weather conditions, this timeline is subject to change. During the 2020 maintenance work, vehicle and snowmobile crossing and foot traffic at the dam bridge may be limited for safety purposes, and delays may occasionally occur.

Should there be any significant changes to the current maintenance timeline or scope, stakeholders will be notified accordingly. Brookfield Renewable will continue to update this website to keep stakeholders apprised of the activities and schedule.

 

Fall 2019 Update 

In recent months, representatives from Brookfield Renewable’s Northeast operations held meetings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Maine Land Use Planning Commission on the consultation and review of the Middle Dam repair project.

The change in approach from a reconstruction project to a repair project has resulted in a repair in-kind with the same footprint, thus minimizing impacts to the environment and mitigating recreation and stakeholder concerns.

Specifically, the highlights associated with the overall Middle Dam project include no anticipated changes to the tailrace, piers and handrail heights, and the overall aesthetics of the gatehouse structure.  With the repairs being made in-kind, there will be no development of a bypass channel or cofferdams.  We do not expect any work to occur in the wet and subsequently, we anticipate no major drawdowns outside of normal operations.  Minor maintenance work to the gate structure is scheduled for this winter.

With this change in approach, fishing access at the dam will be available through the duration of this project. Due to safety concerns, fishing access may be temporarily limited to a single pier at a time.  We also expect to repair the piers and restore access to the pier that is currently closed allowing for increased fishing access over the existing conditions.   The pier handrails and railings will also be improved for safer use.   Maintenance work for the piers is scheduled for this winter.