Dams and Hydroelectric Power Plant Construction

The top picture is the only picture of the comleted dam that I have ever been able to find on the internet.  I didn’t take the picture.  You can follow the link.  The guy has an interesting site.
While I worked on the project in 1981, I took hundreds of pictures, both for the company and with my own camera.  The company pictures are probably gone now, discarded because the company is out of business.  I scanned old negatives that I found in my files for the construction pictures below.
It’s a combination waterfall and rainbow maker.  It turns falling water into electricity, gravity into money.
Spilling water, 1999
Here is Swan Lake in August 1983.  I did get to see it spill.
Downstream face, right side looking  up.
Each block is 50 feet long, measured along the dam axis.  Each lift is 7.5 feet high.  Thickness varied from 30 feet at the bottom to only six feet at the top.  The volume of each block was from 300cy at the bottom to less than 60 at the top.  Even though this is called a thin arch, it is still “mass” concrete.  You can see the cooling coils that were embedded in the base of each lift in the picture below.
The penstock coming through the dam and going immediately into the tunnel.
Looking down into the blocks from the right abutment.
Veiw of the upstream face, now submerged, of course.
Downstream face fromt the right abutment.  Tower crane is a Liebherr 350C.
A. D. “Bill” Steffenson, Project Manager for S. J. Groves & Sons Company
Upstream face of Swan Lake Dam and intake structure during construction, before “water up.”


About markfollmer

I was a real estate agent broker in Renton, Washington until the end of 2016. Previously, I was a civil engineer.
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7 Responses to Dams and Hydroelectric Power Plant Construction

  1. Nick C says:

    I have pictures of this dam from SJ Groves – I salvaged the photo albums as they cleared out their final warehouse last spring. If this dam is of keen interest to you and would like additional photos, let me know.

    • markfollmer says:

      Yes, I am very interested in seeing what you have!
      I took a lot of pictures of the projects that I worked on while a field engineer for Groves ’79-86.
      But they all got sent to Minneapolis and then the company went out of business.

  2. Pingback: The Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project | Mark Follmer News

  3. Wayne smith says:

    My dad Carl Wayne Smith worked on this dam also, I was hoping to find a belt buckle from the green lake project, safety award I believe, that I remember him getting.

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