AEP-PSO proposes river plan for water flow to Tulsa power station
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, January 12, 2013
1/12/13 at 7:24 AM
In a letter to the River Parks Authority, AEP-PSO suggests the organization consider using upstream sediment to split the flow of water within the Arkansas River to ensure a consistent stream of water along the west bank of the river near downtown.
The company has said previously that the lack of a consistent, deep flow of water north of the Zink Dam has left the company without the necessary water supply to cool its Tulsa power station on the west bank of the river.
American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma estimates it uses half a billion gallons of river water a year for that purpose. But low water levels, especially in the summer, have forced the utility company to pump water out of the river on occasion.
This proposal "should result in continuous flow on both sides to keep sedimentation from falling out of the flow stream while maintaining a west side level above our intake screen," wrote Thomas Hansen, PSO's principal engineer at the west Tulsa plan.
The letter goes on to state that PSO has studied the possibility of relocating the intake screen but that federal regulations make that option difficult.
"While we are hopeful a more permanent solution may be forthcoming, we feel the need to address an interim course of action will meet both your and PSO's needs until then," Hansen wrote.
Nearly $70 million in potential funding for major improvements to Zink Dam disappeared in November when voters rejected Vision2, which included $41 million for the project, on Nov. 6 and the state Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 20 that a planned $25 million bond issue to improve the Zink Lake dam on the Arkansas River is unconstitutional.
Those funds would have been used for a major renovation of the dam, including the addition of new gates to manage water flow and create a pool of water large enough to provide recreational opportunities.
Now River Parks is looking to simply plug holes and replace the seals in the dam's three 50-foot-wide gates as well as dredge the sand and silt built up behind the center section of the dam, which has no gates.
Hansen appeared at Thursday's River Parks Authority board of trustees meeting, where he and the board agreed to work together to find a solution to the problem.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma is part of American Electric Power and serves about 527,000 customers in the state.
Original Print Headline: AEP-PSO proposes river plan
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Zink Lake, where a dam was recently fixed to allow more water in. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World