ASME Visits Shepaug Hydroelectric Station by Amelia Hemingway Martin '18
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ASME Visits Shepaug Hydroelectric Station by Amelia Hemingway Martin '18

by Amelia Hemingway Martin BSME '18

hydroThe American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) ventured to Shepaug Hydro Station on Saturday, October 22, 2016, to tour the facilities. The station consists of a dam, penstock, and powerhouse, which were all seen. The station and dam is found in Southbury, CT between the Housatonic River and Shepaug River, and creates the Lake Lillinonah reservoir.

The dam was created in 1955 where a variable blade runner was installed, but was replaced in 1984 with a fixed blade runner. The dam is 1,412 feet long and 140 feet tall, consisting of concrete which is attached into a bedrock. The dam includes a powerhouse, spillway section, and two non-overflow sections. The highest water level that Lake Lillinonah can handle is 198.3 NGVD. With the drought that New England has been suffering from, the station has not been creating as much power as it usually has. Since Junewrenches and pipe, the effects of the lack of rain has been shown in the water intake and output of the dam and station. In the summer, for about 6 to 8 weeks, pure oxygen is delivered to the plant. The oxygen is put into a pressurized tank and then the oxygen in filtered into the lake to promote growth and life of plants and animals living in the lake and surrounding waterways. There is no fishery at this site, because there are no fish swimming from the sea to breed around this dam.

Next to the Shepaug site, there is an eagle viewing area in the winter. Many eagles come to this spot because in the winter the dam does not ice over because of the hydroelectric turbine that runs. Since the water does not freeze over in the winter, eagles and other birds will come and fish during the winter.

Click to see more photos of the station.