AEP to conduct generator tests at Leesville Dam near Altavista; downstream flows to increase

Southside Virginia News

Leesville Dam. (Image courtesy of Appalachian Power).

(WFXR) – Appalachian Power says they will be conducting a required test of its electricity generating units at the Leesville Dam near Altavista.

The tests will be performed starting around 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5 and will continue through early Friday, Aug. 6.

Testing will increase downstream flows at locations on the Roanoke River (also known locally as the Staunton River) depending on the distance from the dam.

Locations close to the dam – for example, around the Altavista area – can expect to see a slow and total increase in river elevation to around eight feet with a peak planned between 5-7 a.m. Friday.

River flows will subsequently decrease and return to normal following the test.

Appalachian Power says the test will ramp up the operation of the generators at the dam and will create water flows that increase slowly over a five-hour timeframe.

Outflows will peak at the dam between 2-3 a.m. Friday before decreasing gradually over several hours back to normal water-release.

The test is not expected to create downstream hazards, but the company urges all recreational and commercial users of the river and shoreline to be aware of higher levels and faster water flows.

Also during the test, Appalachian Power will run both of its 24-megawatt generators at Leesville for one hour during the peak test period, though weather or other circumstances could change the timing of the test.

The annual testing is required by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in the mid-Atlantic region.

Leesville Dam is the lower dam of the two-reservoir Smith Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project operated by Appalachian Power in southwestern Virginia.

Leesville Lake is located on the Roanoke River in the counties of Bedford, Campbell and Pittsylvania.

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