Mactaquac Project summer activities update
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Scientists and engineers will conduct scientific and geotechnical study work in the vicinity of the Mactaquac Generating Station this summer as part of research required to support an eventual decision on the future of the station.
Preliminary testing for a potential development site for a new station will occur between June and July. This work is required to determine if the potential site, located on the opposite side of the riverbank from the current station location, is suitable for future development.
The work will involve clearing a three-metre path and drilling about 12 small holes in the ground to facilitate testing of the depth of rock below. The drill holes will be about 10 cm in diameter. The work will be conducted by trained geotechnicians working for Hatch Engineering. People living close to the work site may experience minimal noise and minor traffic interruptions during the test period.
Meanwhile, scientists with the Canadian Rivers Institute will continue their analyses for the Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study between June and August. Scientists will be working on a number of individual projects, including measuring the water quality in the river and reservoir, tagging and tracking fish to map their habitats, conducting acoustic surveys to map the bottom of the head pond, assessing the decomposition rates in the river and assessing the health of the river’s and reservoir’s ecosystem. For more information, please see the Canadian River Institute’s field season plan.
The Mactaquac Generating Station offers visitor tours daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from May to Labour Day. The visitors’ centre is undergoing a major upgrade and will feature displays with photos and details about the history of the St. John River, the history of the station’s development and potential future and its impact upon local people and the environment, including First Nations. This renovation and upgrade is scheduled to finish in June. Tours are available without an appointment and group bookings can be made by calling 506-476-0888. The tour is not recommended for children under six, and closed-toe shoes are required.
The station is expected to reach the end of its service life by 2030 due to problems with concrete expansion in some of the structures. NB Power is examining how future options might impact people and the environment, along with engineering, economic and scientific considerations, and will choose a path forward in 2016.
Last fall, NB Power contributed $2.3 million in research funding to the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick to support a large, multidisciplinary study intended to answer key questions about the impact of the three options on fish passage, environmental flows and whole river ecosystem.
The station is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric generating facility located west of Fredericton on the St. John River. The station began operating in 1968, and has the capacity to generate 660 megawatts of energy using the flow of water through six turbines. The station supplies about 12 per cent of New Brunswick homes and businesses with clean, low-cost power.
Learn more about the Mactaquac Project by visiting the website.
Deborah Nobes, communications, NB Power, 506-458-4838.