$180 Million Settlement in Reservoir Failure

The failure was caused by several factors. The actual trigger of the event was a failure of the computer software that controlled the filling of the reservoir. It continued to fill the basin after it had reached it’s maximum capacity. No emergency spillway was in place so the failure likely resulted from erosion of the dam caused by overtopping. But there were also piping problems as well that were reportedly not addressed by Ameren.

For full details of the settlement, checkout the Motley Fool article. For more about the timeline of events after the failure (legal action etc), check out this article. And for more about the pumped storage plant and the reservoir failure, check out the Wikipedia article.

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It’s interesting to note that the hydro plant will be rebuilt and is expected to be operational in late 2009. It is unique in that there is no source of flowing water. It was designed to meet electricity needs during the peak of the day by running its turbines. During the off-peak hours, electricity is used to run the pumps to fill up the reservoir once again.