Elko dam at risk of breaking

BC Hydro’s Elko Dam is at risk of having its abutments eroded by the high flows on the Elk River.

  • Jun. 21, 2013 9:00 a.m.

BC Hydro’s Elko Dam is at risk of having its abutments eroded by the high flows on the Elk River. An abutment is the structure that supports each side of the dam. If this occurs, although the dam itself may not fail, some of the water held back by the dam would be released.

Elko Dam and Generating Station is a small run-of-river facility located 70 kilometres southeast of Cranbrook on the Elk River. The dam is 15.5 metres tall and 66 metres long.

As there are no towns or villages along the Elk River below Elko Dam, potential damage would mainly be to BC Hydro property. However there is a possibility of rapid downstream flooding along the river which would be higher than any flood level experienced in the past.

BC Hydro strongly urges the public to stay away from the river and the low-lying land at the mouth of the river as these areas are currently extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening due to unpredictable and dangerous flow and water level changes.

BC Hydro is conducting 24 hour surveillance and coordinating its operations with the BC Safety Authority and Emergency Management BC.