The penstocks at Deer Lake Power are finally being replaced.
Some of the wooden structures that bring water down from the upper Grand River to the powerhouse on Deer Lake have been replaced over the years, and maintenance and repairs have been an ongoing project for the subsidiary of Kruger Inc., the owner of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.
Some of the penstocks, however, have been in place since the station was built in the 1920s.
The piping began arriving at the Corner Brook Port on Friday from Texas, and will continue to be offloaded today. It will eventually be trucked to Deer Lake where the extensive replacement project will begin.
Jackie Chow, the port manager and chief executive officer, said it is the first of three shipments of pipes the port is expected to receive.
For years, the aging structures have been a concern for residents and Deer Lake municipal representatives. Leaks and breaks have been a common problem that has created issues with respect to things like winter maintenance.
Replacing the penstocks is one of the capital upgrades mentioned by Daniel Archambault, the executive vice-president of Kruger’s industrial products division, with respect to the $110 million government loan that was officially announced in February.
Several large leaks were repaired in 2012 and inspections have continued since. There is a tendency for the structures, held together with large clamps and bolts, to leak depending on weather conditions and water pressure.
In 2005, the replacement of one of the penstocks was said to have been part of an eight-year replacement project. It had been in the planning process for two years at that time, and one steel penstock per year was expected to replace the old wooden structures.
It had a price tag of $5.5 million in 2005.