Thursday, January 29, 2009

Army Corps Delays Activation Of New Electric Barrier

Jan 28: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will delay activation of a new electric barrier, known as Barrier IIA, in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Illinois. The Army Corps had planned to activate the barrier at 1 Volt/inch by January 31st, but will delay these plans to conduct cooling system repairs. According to a release, inspection and maintenance crews preparing barrier equipment for extended use identified concerns with the condition of the cooling pipes after they de-watered the system coolant tank on January 27. The extent of these defects was not visible during normal maintenance checks of the filled coolant tank. Engineers charged with keeping the barrier in continuous operations recommended defective pipes be replaced prior to activation and extended use of the barrier. The Corps said the corrosion of the cooling pipes was not anticipated. The Corps and other experts are examining the situation to ensure cooling system repairs are completed effectively in a timely manner. The Corps said it now anticipates completing repairs and activating Barrier IIA by mid to late March if fairly favorable working conditions prevail.

The Army Corps has been operating a similar demonstration barrier in the Sanitary and Ship Canal since 2002, which remains in continuous operation. The purpose of the barrier is to block the passage of aquatic nuisance species, such as Asian carp, in order to prevent them from moving into the Great Lakes. Chicago District Commander, Col. Vincent Quarles, said he regrets the delay in activating the new barrier, but indicated, “We want to make sure Barrier IIA runs safely and effectively and to that end we decided it was prudent to make repairs to the cooling system now before we put it into full time operation.”

Access the release from the Corps (click here).