Friday, July 2, 2010

Whitewater Valve in Place at Quemahoning

The Cambria Somerset Authority has finished installation of the 48-inch valve under the dam that holds back the Quemahoning Reservoir. The plan is to be able to release water every other weekend from April thorough October to turn the Stonycreek River into a whitewater playground. Authority Operations Manager Earl Waddell says they will be testing the valve without water for the next few weeks and then will begin testing with water. He says before any releases are made the river will be checked to make sure there are no boaters or fishers caught unaware. The valve will be able to release up to 500 cubic feet per second when it is fully operational. Waddell says they will be able to make the releases as long at the water does not fall more than a foot below the spillway. The Authority is still waiting for final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to allow the releases. Waddell says it will probable be next spring before they can make regular release but if all goes well there could be some whitewater releases this fall. Construction on the $865,000 project began about a year ago. Planning has been under way for more than a decade. Waddell says if you are standing under the dam the only thing you will notice is improvements to the riverbed immediately below the dam. He says it has been widened and more rock as been added to help deal with the flow.

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