View the Lower Falls Redevelopment Project video on youtube:

 

LOWER FALLS REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

OFFICIAL OPENING

AUGUST 27, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Commissioners of the Almonte Public Utilities Commissions and present members of MRPC's Board of Directors

 

 

 

 

 

What we've done:

The project involves expansion of the existing Almonte Generating Station to increase the maximum output from 2.4MW to 4.6MW. To do this, we will be harnessing the power of not only the middle falls in Almonte, but the Lower Falls as well. The existing powerhouse and intake works will be converted to an intake structure. The existing turbines and generators will be removed and two 3 metre diameter penstocks will be constructed linking the intake to a new powerhouse to be constructed below the Lower Falls. The existing turbines will be modified, fitted with larger generators and re-installed in a new powerhouse.

This is a great example of Green Power. We are increasing generation output, using a renewable resource, which will help offset the need for other types of generation, including coal-fired (airborne pollutants) and nuclear (nuclear waste). We also have no storage capabilities, which means we are a run-of-river generating station, passing the water as it comes downstream.

This new Generating Station carries on the proud tradition of waterpower in Almonte, upon which the Town itself was founded. It was nearly 200 years ago, when David Shepherd built the first mill in Almonte, using the power of the falls to drive the machinery. The first mill on the Lower Falls site, using the waterpower, was built in the 1850's (source: Gerry Wheatley). In terms of an actual hydroelectric Generating Station, the first in Almonte was built in 1890, right beside the Generating Station that was just converted to an intake structure.

Many towns in this part of the country can boast the same sort of history, but few can say that they've kept the tradition alive like Almonte and Mississippi Mills. What we've built on the Lower Falls is a tip of the cap to our forefathers and a valuable asset to our present-day and future residents.

Since 100% of the Shares in MRPC are owned by the Town, ALL of the profits from the company go directly to the Town, benefitting you (the residents), for years to come.

 

Do you have a question about the project? Send your question by email to: info@mississippiriverpower.com

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Quote from the past:

June 29, 1923

"Moved by Mr. Cooke and seconded by Dr. Metcalfe and resolved: That while this Commission believes that the Bay development (Lower Falls Generating Station) scheme is the ideal one, it recommends that the Council take the necessary steps to proceed at once with the Bridge development (Middle Falls) as planned and estimated by Chas. Barber and Sons, since this development can be used later in the Bay development, should that be decided upon, with little loss through the change; and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Town Council."

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Follow the history of the construction phase below (scroll to the bottom of the page and work your way up to follow the progress in chronological order:

 

April 9, 2010

As of 12:01am this morning, the station is online and generating at full capacity. This is a day that we've been looking forward to for the past 9 years, when we first looked at the viability of this new station. Alot of hard work, time, and money has gone into making this project a reality. The Lower Falls Generating Station will be a wonderful asset to the Town of Mississippi Mills for many, many years.

Landscaping of the park will begin in the next few weeks, once the ground dries out a little more. The green roof system will be installed next month.

 

March 5, 2010

Things have been quite busy for MRPC over the past few months, apologies for the lapse in updates.

A great deal has happened since the last update (obviously). The construction phase is essentially complete, with the exception of landscaping, installation of the green roof, and final building touches.

     

 

The upper site (transformer station) work is complete (with the exception of final site grading).

 

The interior of the new Generating Station has come a long way over the past four months.

 

 

 

Testing of equipment has been ongoing since last week. Testing and commissioning will continue for the next little while. Depending on how well everything goes, we hope to be generating power before the end of March.

 

 

November 24, 2009

On November 17 both generators were installed in the new generating station.

Unit #1 being installed...

 

 

 

Unit #2 being installed...

   

 

Over the past two weeks and continuing over the next few weeks, a great deal of work is happening at the upper site (by the old generating station/substation). A few weeks ago, the transformer, structure and fencing were removed from the site. Last week the site was excavated, to make room for the transformer pads, spill containment and grounding mat. Below we see progress on the forming for the transformer pads and installation of ductwork for electrical cabling.

   

 

Work continues on the roof of the new building. Part of the building will be clad in stone from the site. Workers will begin putting that stone on the building tomorrow.

 

During excavation for the new generating station, a small corner of the foundation of an old mill had to be removed. After speaking with local historians and looking at some old photos, we determined that the remains were from the Canon Mill. It was decided to incorporate these remains into the design of the new station. The stones from the foundation are being used to face the side of the North retaining wall platform.

   

 

The view from the lower lookout, over the tailrace...

 

 

November 16, 2009

Quick update - Both Generators are scheduled for installation tomorrow. The first should be installed around 9:00 - 9:30am and the second closer to lunch. These times are approximate and many factors can alter that time. The generators will be lowered by crane, down through the roof of the new generating station building.

 

November 13, 2009

Final inspection of the penstocks took place on October 29. A few more welding touch-ups were done later that day, after which all lighting and materials were removed. The hatches were then installed, sealing the penstocks.

 

 

The stone that made up the lower coffer dam was removed on October 30.

   

 

Boards were removed from the middle falls weir on October 30, restoring normal flow of the river over the middle and lower falls.

 

   

 

The pictures below show the riverbed, from the Almonte Street bridge, from left to right, on Sept 24, Oct 30, and Nov 3.

   

 

The pictures below show the riverbed, from the Victoria Woolen Mill lookout, from left to right, on Oct 30 and Nov 3.

 

 

During the first week of November, fisheries habitat work took place. Several rock groynes were constructed (one with a tree buried within it), which are great spawning areas for fish, specifically walleye. All of the fisheries habitat work, was designed by our Environmental Consultants (Niblett Environmental) and approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

 

 

The shafts, which connect the turbine to the generator, were installed on November 9. Wokers from supplier, Canadian Hydro Components assisted General Contract M. Sullivan & Son with the installation.

       

 

The stairs leading from the generator floor level to the turbine floor level in the new generating station, were installed last week. The picture below on the left shows the stairs, while the picture on the right shows a shot from the turbine room level - showing the two turbine/wicket gate assembly units.

 

 

Some of the focus over the next couple of weeks will shift to the old generating station/substation site. Excavation is now complete at that site. Items for installation are a large (buried) grounding mat, a spill containment resevoir, transformer pads, and two transformers.

 

 

October 29, 2009

The roof of the new building was poured last week. The frame for the removable part of the roof is now onsite and is being assembled.

 

 

 

Riverbed stones and a rock burm were placed on the North side of the building (river side) to protect debris from hitting the building and entering the tailrace. Placement of these stones was also done to force water down a pre-existing channel in the river, for fisheries purposes (a prime spawning area). Concrete was poured around these stones to keep them in place during high flows in the Spring.

   

 

The tailrace gates were intalled last Friday.

    

 

Forms were stripped off the walls of the new building, now masons are preparing stone from the site to clad parts of two sides of the building.

 

 

The lower coffer dam was is presently being removed. The steel piles were removed on Tuesday/Wednesday and this morning. The stone will be removed next.

 

 

The boards on the middle falls will be removed tomorrow, restoring the river flow back to normal.

Work has commenced at the upper site (transformer station). The transformer has been temporarily removed from the site to allow for excavation. The old structure and fencing has been removed. Excavation for the grounding mat, spill containment will commence next week.

  

 

October 19, 2009

The walls of the new Generating Station are now poured. The forms will be stripped off in the coming weeks. The forming and re-bar installation is being finalized today and tomorrow for the roof of the new building. The roof will be poured on Wednesday. Part of the roof will be a 'green' roof, but installation of that portion won't happen until next Spring, as warmer temperatures are required.

  

 

September 23, 2009

On September 3, the large white bags that had been in the river near the intake of the old Generating Station, were removed.

 

Over the past few weeks, there have been a couple of mass pours in the new Generating Station. Preparation for each pour involves a great deal of rebar installation and forming. The photo below shows rebar installation around the penstocks.

 

The next pour (September 10) nearly covered the penstocks completely, leaving only one pour remaining to bring the building to the generator floor level.

   

 

 

The next pour took place on September 21. This pour brought the station up to the generator floor level. The pour was about 1.5 metres in height and about 250 cubic metres of concrete.

   

 

Workers spent the entire night, floating and trowelling the concrete to ensure a smooth finish.

 

 

The photo below shows the lookout platform at the lower end of the Generating Station, that will be accessible to the public as a viewing area to see up or downstream.

 

Today, work began on putting forms in place to pour the Generating Station's walls. The walls should be poured within the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 September 1, 2009

A great deal of work has taken place over the past few weeks (since the last update).

Over the past month, the new headgates were being installed in the old Generating Station, by Valley Sales (Renfrew). Installation was completed yesterday.

 

 

Throughout the early and mid part of August, the turbine room walls (new building) were formed and poured. On August 17, both turbines were brought down from Canadian Hydro Components, and installed in the new Generating Station. Th turbines are 1700mm double-regulated Kaplans.

   

 

 

After installation of the turbines was completed, the remaining penstock sections (which had been sitting in the park for the past several months), was cut to size and installed. Both penstock sections were installed last week. Welding is continuing this week.

 

 

 

Work on the North retaining wall, which will divert water down the Lower Falls and away from the new Generating Station, has been underway for the past few weeks. First re-bar was anchored into the existing natural stone embankment. Next the remaining re-bar was installed. Following that, the forms were built and the wall was poured on August 21.

 

 

Last week, work commenced to place stones on top of the penstock concrete in the riverbed. Ths provides a more aesthetically pleasing view of the river from the bridge above (seeing water run over natural stones from the site, rather than running over concrete). This work is still underway at the present time, but should be complete by tomorrow (Wednesday).

 

 

 

Once the rocks were placed, concrete was poured around them to hold them in place. The final concrete pour around the stones will take place tomorrow.

  

 

 

Removal of the white bags in the river, at the old Generating Station's intake, is scheduled for later this week.

Work continues on the new Generating Station. The next few concrete pours will bring the building up above the turbine room floor.

 

August 4, 2009

Photos taken after the third pour on July 24, which brings the new Generating Station up to the Turbine Floor level.

   

 

The next step was to backfill (with clear stone) in the void between bedrock and the concrete base of the new Generating Station. This was done last week.

 

Also last week, at the base of the old Generating Station, forms were built and the first of three concrete pours was completed on the mass block of concrete on top of the transition section. This section of penstock is where the shape changes from rectangular (old draft tube) to circular (new penstock). This change in shape results in extremelely high outward pressures when the Generating Station is onine and the penstocks are full of water. This mass of concrete was designed to withstand that outward force.

   

 

The next pour at the new Generating Station is scheduled for  August 7 (edit). This is the first of the wall pours at the turbine room level. Forming and re-bar installation are being completed over the next couple of days.

 

 

July 21, 2009

The third concrete pour for the new Generating Station will take place on Friday morning (July 24). Most of the work on the site this week involves forming and installing re-bar.

 

July 15, 2009

The second concrete pour for the new Generating Station building will take place tomorrow (Thursday) at 8:00am. About 150 cubic metres of concrete will be poured and it's expected to take about 3.5 hours.

The forms are in place for the pour and the final lengths of re-bar are being installed today.

 

July 10, 2009

The first concrete pour for the new Generating Station building took place yesterday. About 15 trucks were used to pour 170 cubic metres of concrete.

This first pour filled the void underneath the draft tubes and will be strengthened by the massive amount of rebar which the concrete encompassed. It was tough to get any photos to really show the scope of this pour, but in the before (left) and after (right) photos below, you can see the exposed rebar in the lower left corner. In the after picture, that same area is covered in smooth concrete. Not too exciting, but a big step in the project, as the building is finally beginning to come out of the ground.

The next pour at this site should be taking place late next week.

 

June 30, 2009

Cleanup of the excavated pit where the new Generating Station will be built, was completed this past weekend.

Work commenced yesterday on repairing the rebar mat that was damaged during the flood.

Workers also began installing forms, in preparation for the first concrete pour at the new Generating Station (which will take place either later this week, or early next week).

Work continued on running the ducts (which will carry electrical and communication cables) from the new Generating Station to the old station. These ducts are buried in the concrete, along with the penstocks, but emerge from the concrete just dowstream of the old station.

 

June 18, 2009

The cleanup continues...

A great deal of debris was washed downstream when the temporary dam broke, and then on throughout the Winter and Spring. In the photo below many rocks can be seen in the hole where the new Generating Station will be built. These rocks (some of them large boulders) were washed downstream over the Spring. Thankfully, the draft tubes (large steel rectangular opening pipes) were not damaged. The removal of these rocks and debris is a slow process, which will more than likely lead into next week.

 

May 20, 2009

Since the break of the temporary coffer dam, there hasn't been alot of action to report on the site. That doesn't mean that nothing has happened. Over the past few months, the following has taken place:

Removal of the support braces inside the penstock. These steel supports (which can be seen in pictures below from November 3 and 5/08)were cut away and removed from the inside of the penstocks with the river raging overhead.

 

Electrical work at old Generating Station and Switching Station.

 

Last week, and continuing this week, services are being run from the street to the new Generating Station site. This includes water/sewer, telephone, and electrical.

 

The General Contractor (M. Sullivan & Son Ltd.) hope to resume construction of the new station in the very near future. At the present time water levels are too high to allow re-instatement of the coffer dam, but it's hoped that water levels decline and re-instatement of the dam may take place sometime in June.

 

January 7, 2009

About a week and a half ago, a period of warm temperatures and heavy rains, caused the flows in the river to increase drastically and the ice cover on the river (from Almonte to Appleton) began to break up. As the large sheets and chunks of ice floated down the river, some of them smashed into the boards on the middle falls weir, that had been holding water back from the construction site.

This caused water to flood the entire construction site and delay further work on the new Generating Station. Prior to the flooding of the site, the penstocks were completely encased in concrete and the riverbed stones were placed back on top. Work on the new Generating Station will resume only when the water can be safely diverted away from the site. The timing of that is unkown at this point. In the meantime, work will continue in the old Generating Station (electrical).

 

 

December 15, 2008

The second major concrete pour in the penstock (pipe) trench took place this past Saturday.

The first truck arrived on-site at 6:00am and work was completed at around 7:00pm.

Over 80 truckloads for a total of 940 cubic metres of concrete were poured.

Two pumper trucks were operating from either end of the trench.

The penstocks are now completely buried in concrete. Tarps cover the trench to maintain a stable temperature on the curing concrete.

The next step, is to place large rocks that were set aside during the excavation, on top of the concrete, which will restore (as much as possible), the look of the old riverbed. This should happen within a week (or two - depending on the curing of the concrete).

 

December 1, 2008

The first major concrete pour took place this past Saturday. Approximately 700 cubic metres of concrete was poured in the trench around the penstocks. The photos below show some of the action:

Plastic covered the trench before (and after) the pour to keep precipitation out and warmth in.

 

As concrete trucks arrived in Almonte, they made their way to Mary Street, where their loads were tested (about every 3rd truck) for quality. Tests were done to measure temperature, slump, and air entrainment.

 

There were two pumper trucks, pouring concrete from either end of the penstock trench.

 

Trucks using the upper pumper truck would enter through the guardrail on Almonte Street and back into place.

 

There was a large crew of workers to complete this large pour. This photo shows one person working the hose to actually pour the concrete, and two working the vibration device to ensure the concrete works it's way into any voids.

 

These photos were taken two days after the pour, from the trench. The photo on the left shows how high the concrete is on the penstocks (pipes). The second is taken from between the pipes and shows rebar sticking out of the concrete, which will help bond the next pour to this one. It also shows the start of the electrical conduit piping (top centre of photo), which will carry wiring from the new generating station up the penstock trench, to the old station. This conduit will be completely buried in concrete.

 

The next major pour will take place on December 13, and will consist of roughly twice as much concrete as this past one.

 

Update - November 26, 2008

Over the past couple of weeks two major tasks have been underway.

The first was placing the last pieces of the upper penstock, welding them together, welding Neslon studs to them, completing installation of the re-bar... all in preparation for the first major concrete pour in the penstock trench, which will take place this coming Saturday (Nov. 29). Approximately 650 cubic metres of concrete will be poured on Saturday. Trucks will start arriving in Almonte at around 6:15am. They will turn onto Coleman St, take a left at Wellington St. and then left again on Mary St. They will park on the right-hand side of Mary St. and wait for their cue to proceed to the site. If you have any questions, please send an email to the address listed above, or call our office at 613-256-2403.

Below are some pictures of the aforementioned prepartory work.

Final Penstock elbow installation.

 

Bulkhead constructed (end of concrete pour).

 

Final Welding (welding section of penstock together).

 

Penstocks sections are all in place and platforms have been built on top, for safety of workers during concrete pour.

 

The second major task was preparing for the first concrete pour at the new Generating Station. Drilling, grouting, re-drilling..... has been taking place over the past few weeks. Since the rock anchors are so deep in the rock, artesian wells are causing water to come up the drilled holes. This work is nearing completion. Once the rock anchors are all in, rebar mats will be installed and forming can start for the new station.

 

Installation of rock anchors at new Generating Station.

 

Update - November 13, 2008

This week the penstock sections are being precisely positioned and welded together. Drilling for rock anchors at the new Generating Station is continuing. Minor repairs are being done to the intake of the old Generating Station.

 

Update - November 5, 2008

Three more sections of penstock were installed today.

Also, one of the transition pieces was installed this afternoon. The other transition piece and some smaller penstock sections are scheduled for installation tomorrow.

Drilling for rock anchors at the location of the new Generating Station started today.

 

Update - November 3, 2008

Excavation and blasting are complete.

The first sections of penstock were installed last week.

More sections of penstock arrived today (below - left), as well as one of the transition pieces (below - right) that will connect the old draft tubes (where the water exited the old Generating Station) to the penstocks. These pieces, and two more long, straight penstock sections, are scheduled for installation on Wednesday.

 

Update - October 27, 2008

The first penstocks should arrive tomorrow. They will be dropped in place when they arrive.

Blasting continued today and should wrap up tomorrow.

 

Update - October 21, 2008

Blasting resumed today, with 3 blasts and will continue tomorrow (Wednesday).

 

Update - October 16, 2008

Excavation for the new Generating Station building (including blasting) will resume next Monday or Tuesday.

Rock anchors have been installed over the past couple of days. More to come tomorrow.

The last part of the mud slab will be poured tomorrow.

Steel saddles will be bolted to these anchors and the penstocks will sit on the saddles. Penstocks should start arriving for installation next week (possibly Wednesday).

 

Update - October 9, 2008

The first part of the mud slab was poured on Monday morning (see the before and after pictures below. The remainder of the mud slab will be poured tomorrow.

The tailrace work is essentially complete and now the focus is on the transition from the new Generating Station to the tailrace and excavation of the new GS itself.

Blasting will resume at the location of the new GS, either next week or early the week after.

 

Update - October 2, 2008

Tailrace (where the water exits the new Generating Station) excavation and construction is well underway and should be completed by mid-week, next week.

Concrete pouring in the penstock trench will commence early next week. The pour will be a "mud slab", which is basically a smooth working surface (since the rocky bottom of the trench is uneven), that the penstocks will sit on.

Blasting will resume late next week at the location of the new Generating Station.

 

Update - September 26, 2008

All equipment has been removed from the old GS

The penstock trench has been blasted and excavated to the proper elevation

The tailrace (where water exits the GS) for the new GS will be dewatered early next week, and excavation in that area can begin.

 

Update - September 23, 2008

Equipment removal at the old Generating Station (GS) is nearly complete. The second turbine/wicket gate assembly/runner chest came out yesterday (pictured below).

The picture below shows a view from the floor of the old GS, looking down into the turbine pit. Prior to removal the turbine was at the bottom of the pit, connected by a steel shaft to the gearbox and generator which sat at the GS floor level.

Excavation of blasted rock in the penstock trench is still underway. Blasting is complete in this area, but more will occur at the location of the new Generating Station.

 

Update - September 12, 2008

Equipment removal continued at the old Generating Station.

Blasting will resume next week.

 

Update - September 9, 2008

Hoe-ramming continues underneath the bridge.

Excavation of blasted rock continued yesterday.

One gearbox from the old Generating Station was removed yesterday afternoon, the other will be coming out today.

 

Update - September 4, 2008

Plenty of action on the site this week.

  • Excavation of the slope for the new tailrace (where water will exit the new generating station) commenced.

  • Hoe-ramming underneath the bridge continued.

  • Blasting started this morning. The first blast was around 8:00am, three others followed throughout the day. Blasting should continue for about two weeks. Upon completion of blasting, hoe-ramming and excavation, the penstocks will be placed in the trench and covered in concrete. Rock salvaged from the blasting, will then be placed in the top layer of concrete in an effort to restore (as much as possible) the look of the riverbed. Work on the foundation for the new station will be happening concurrently with the penstock installation.

  • The generators were removed from the existing Generating Station. Removal of equipment in this station will continue over the next couple of weeks.

 

Update - August 13, 2008

What will the new Generating Station look like?

 

Update - August 7, 2008

The Sod-Turning ceremony to officially commence the project, took place on July 22, 2008.

There is a great deal of work happening on the site this week, including:

- Construction of the access road

- Sealing of the coffer dam to divert the flow of the Mississippi River down the North Channel

- Trees have been removed and stumps are now being pulled

Rock excavation should commence in the next couple of weeks.

 

Update - July 21, 2008

General Contractor, M. Sullivan & Son Ltd., have erected construction fencing in Metcalfe GeoHeritage Park and are continuing with prepatory work. Construction is expected to commence within the next couple of weeks, and will last throughout the summer/fall/winter, with an expected completion date of spring or early summer.

PRESS RELEASE

 

 

 

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Prior to proceeding with this project, MRPC had to go through the Environmental Screening Process (similar to an Evironmental Assessment). Please click on the links below to see various stages of the Environmental Screening.

Notice of Commencement

Notice of Completion

Environmental Screening Report

Attachments:

Figures 2.1 - 2.4

Figures 5.1 & 5.2

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On October 16, 2006, Mississippi River Power Corp. received authorization from the Town of Mississippi Mills Council to proceed with the detailed design and tendering process.

Turbine/Generator bids were accepted during the month of February 2007. The contract was awarded to local firm - Canadian Hydro Components. Bids were accepted on the General Contract in March of 2008. The General Contract was awarded to M. Sullivan & Son Limited (Arnprior).

Construction on the project, should commence in July of 2008.

 

 

In the photo below (left), workers from M. Sullivan & Son Ltd. can be seen making one of many bases for new rocks to be placed in Metcalfe GeoHeritage Park. In the photo below (right), a rippled sandstone slab is being placed on one of the previously poured concrete slabs. Pictured in the photo (from left to right) are Scott Newton (Operations Manager, Mississippi River Power Corp.), Calvin Murphy (Recreation Coordinator, Town of Mississippi Mills), and Lennis Box (Site Superintendent, M. Sullivan & Son Ltd.).

   

M. Sullivan & Son Ltd. in cooperation with Mississippi River Power Corp. have donated labour and materials to create these bases for Metcalfe GeoHeritage Park.

 

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