Reservoir levels reduced for construction

CHITTENDEN-Major improvements planned for East Pittsford Station, a Central Vermont Public Service hydroelectric facility, will require slightly lower water levels on Chittenden Reservoir throughout the summer and into the fall.

"The water levels will be about 4 feet lower than average, but within the low end of our normal operating range," CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. "The reservoir will remain open and accessible for boating, fishing and swimming, but boaters are reminded to use caution when putting in boats and on the water given the natural rock formations scattered throughout the reservoir."

Costello noted that the water levels sometimes fluctuate dramatically at the reservoir, as an inch of rain can quickly raise the water level by a foot. About 17 square miles of mountainous terrain drain into Chittenden Reservoir.

"The water levels early in the season will be closer to typical late-summer levels," Costello said. "The changes won't be dramatic, but we want to ensure people are aware of them and can plan accordingly. Boaters should pay particular attention as they put in and take out their trailers."

Costello said the water level will range from about 1,488 feet above sea level in May to about 1,487 feet above sea level in early August, when construction will begin. The water level must be lowered in anticipation of the work, which will cost more than $2 million, so major storms can still be managed safely.

The project includes electrical equipment and switchgear upgrades at the East Pittsford Station, along with new powerhouse substructure foundation work involving replacement of the 96-year -old penstock and pipe network that feeds three turbines at the 3,600-kilowatt facility. CVPS balances the operational needs of Chittenden Reservoir by giving first priority to ensuring public and dam safety.

The project is expected to last until mid-November, when recommissioning of East Pittsford Station will begin.

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