TVA is working to repair a flume on Ocoee Dam 2.

It's the second flume to be damaged in the past three years with TVA. On the rock wall, there is a large opening, which is clearly where the 30-foot boulder was located. The weather could have played a role causing the rock to fall.

In 2014, and again in 2017, both flumes were damaged during cold months, and both repairs were made in the spring.

TVA took us with them 14-feet above any ground and up a mile from Power House 2 to carefully observe the damage.

David Falls, the Plant Manager of the Ocoee Hydro Plant said, "if this would have been during the summer months, and it was dry for, ya know, five or six months, you'd be able to see cracks through it."

In the winter time, the rainfall or snow infiltrates into the cracks in the rock. As the temperature drops to 32 degrees, usually at night, the cracks freeze. This can expand the cracks by 9-10 percent, exerting pressure on the rock.

As the temperature rises and the ice thaws, it allows water to seep further into the cracks. Over time, this loosens the rock and eventually, gravity takes over.

TVA told Channel 3 they are repairing the flume to historical standards to keep the integrity from 1913.

"We've come in and stabilized the slope. To do that we had to remove more rock to keep it from falling on folks that were down here working," Falls said.

Chemicals, airbags, and drills were used over the past month to remove the remaining loose rock. For the new construction, they're specifically using Pine Tongue and Groove from Georgia.

"It helps with the structural integrity of it, rather than just stacking them straight up," Falls added. "You kind of weave them in and out, and it helps with the structure of it."

Once the boards are weaved in, there will be a leak. Over a few weeks, the leak will stop. The pine is hygroscopic. It releases and absorbs moisture, and when moisture is added, the boards will expand and will seal preventing any more water to break through.

TVA told Channel 3 they want the repair done by mid-May for recreation this summer.

Below is a list of rafting start dates:

  • Ocoee Outdoors, Saturday March 17th
  • Outland Expeditions, Saturday March 17th (Middle), Saturday May 12th (Upper)
  • Outdoor Blue Ridge, Saturday March 31st
  • Quest Expeditions, Saturday March 31st (Middle)
  • Rolling Thunder River Company, Sunday April 1st

Have a weather-related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.