One of the sirens along the Campbell River (Supplied by Stephen Watson, BC Hydro)
There’s going to be some more testing of the John Hart Dam’s new siren system.
BC Hydro says the tests on August 28th showed a technical issue which has since been fixed.
The next full system test will be happening next Tuesday. The siren will sound intermittently throughout the day between 9:00am and 5:00pm.
BC Hydro has sirens in place from the John Hart Dam down to Second Island, which is a kilometre or so downstream of the new John Hart underground powerhouse tunnel outlet.
The utility gets occasional questions from the community when the sirens go off on the difference between warning people about river flow changes, versus the safety of the upstream dams.
“The sirens are only intended to provide facility operational warnings of sudden water flow changes or unplanned water flow changes from the dam’s spillway gates or low level outlets, or from the powerhouse tunnel outlet,” said BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson.
“This warning is for people who are within the river channel either swimming, fishing, rafting, kayaking, or walking or standing near the water flow. The sirens, which have a whooping sound, advise people to move out of the river channel immediately until the increased water flow passes by.”
BC Hydro says once the new siren system is approved and in place there will be occasional system testing to make sure it’s working right, and that it will let the community know when the new system is officially commissioned.
“We appreciate people’s patience as we work through the testing period,” says Watson. “It’s very important that they all work as designed. While we try to notify people of the planned tests, we also need to be clear that there is a rare chance of an unplanned water flow event from the John Hart facility during a test. When the sirens are heard during a planned test, people should move out of the river channel.”
BC Hydro is recommending people stay away from the Campbell River during next Tuesday’s tests.