ISSUE: EWEB set an organizational goal in 2022 to determine a direction for the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project toward either a power producing asset or permanent decommissioning of the Project.
In keeping with our commitment to transparency and public service, we invite our customer-owners and community members to participate in the conversation around the future of the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project.
Instructions for providing public comment: Public comments will be documented for consideration as part of EWEB’s Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Analysis. The analysis, which considers financial, environmental and social impacts, will help EWEB’s elected Board of Commissioners compare and evaluate solutions to this complex problem.
Other opportunities for public input include contacting the Leaburg Project Team outreach coordinator Adam Spencer (firstname.lastname@example.org), EWEB Commissioners directly, and/or providing comments at regularly scheduled public Board meetings (1st Tuesday of the month).
Background: In October 2018, EWEB ceased power generation at the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project due to the discovery of excessive seepage along portions of the Leaburg Canal. Upon further analysis, EWEB found that the portions of the canal with excessive seepage also contained low-strength soils that would be vulnerable during earthquakes. EWEB completed partial fixes and has kept the canal drawn down to reduce the risks of these structural concerns.
EWEB does not believe there is an imminent danger of a canal breach.
Meanwhile, EWEB is investigating the best future alternative for the Leaburg Project. Working with a team of specialists, EWEB has identified the following 4 alternatives for the Leaburg Project:
Alternative 1: Full decommission of the Leaburg Project: Removing all traces of the dam, the canal, and all facilities. Leaburg Lake would return to original river conditions as best as practical. This alternative would attempt to make the landscape return to “as if the Leaburg Project were never built.”
Alternative 2: Full return-to-service: Fixing all problems and getting back to normal power generation. This alternative would invest in power generation for the future.
Alternative 3: New Powerhouse at Luffman Spillway: Building a new powerhouse closer to the dam that would generate less power but also reduce construction costs. EWEB would modify the canal downstream of the new powerhouse so that it would only carry stormwater from tributary creeks.
Alternative 4: Stormwater Conveyance: Decommissioning of the Leaburg Project by modifying the entire canal for stormwater conveyance only, essentially converting the canal into a tributary of the McKenzie River. The Project would no longer generate power. The Leaburg Dam would be removed.