Advanced planning and emphasis on safety resulted in reduced risks, duration, and costs.
Tallulah Falls Penstock Inspection and Monitoring Plan
Southern Company Generation’s (Southern Company’s) Tallulah Falls Hydroelectric Station (72 MW) was constructed in 1914. Southern Company required a comprehensive internal and external inspection and evaluation of the Station’s six steel penstocks. The penstocks run down the side of a steep gorge with some sections being nearly vertical with approximately 525 feet of elevation change.
Kleinschmidt conducted extensive pre-inspection planning with Southern Company given the complexities of the site and the safety risks associated with the planned activities. We recommended and designed new manholes at the upstream end of the penstocks to provide both inspector access and adequate airflow through the penstocks during the inspection. Kleinschmidt’s Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) certified engineers performed the inspections of the penstocks supported by a professional high-angle and confined space rescue team, Total Safety, who assisted with the rope access due to the steep incline and length of the penstocks. This baseline evaluation (the last inspection of the interior of the penstocks was completed decades ago) was used to finalize a Monitoring Plan for the penstocks that Southern Company can use in the future to schedule maintenance, monitor conditions, and reduce risks.
Kleinschmidt’s inspection approach greatly reduced the safety risks (resulting in no injuries), and duration of the inspections, which saved Southern Company money by completing the inspections within one scheduled station outage. Additionally, having Kleinschmidt’s SPRAT-certified engineers with expertise in penstock inspections in the pipe for the eyes on / hands-on inspection resulted in a more efficient, thorough, and dependable inspection and assessment. The volume and accuracy of data collected resulted in calculations with results that the owner can trust, providing peace of mind that their penstocks will continue to perform and support the generation of 72 MW of power.