Oxygen diffuser project underway at dam; traffic to be minimally impacted

An oxygen diffuser project is underway at Wolf Creek Dam, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The fully-funded sustainability project will eventually store liquid oxygen, convert it to a gas, and then diffuse it. When this is achieved, the Corps can provide more environmentally friendly releases from Lake Cumberland while maximizing hydropower generation. This will support native wildlife downstream while also providing the necessary electric generation for customers who receive power due to generation at the dam.

The Corps is partnering with power preference customers, the Southeastern Power Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority to construct the cryogenic facility downstream of the dam, and install 50,000 linear feet of oxygen diffuser lines that reach into Lake Cumberland.

When constructed, the completed project will convert 300 tons of liquid oxygen per day to gaseous oxygen through four 15,000-gallon tanks and eight vaporizers. Daily deliveries of liquid oxygen will be required during the low dissolved-oxygen season for operation. The Corps of Engineers is soliciting a contract for this project with construction scheduled to begin this fall.

The Corps awarded a separate $1.56 million contract in January to Supplied Industrial Solutions for 50,000 linear feet of diffuser line materials. TVA is set to mobilize to the dam this month to fabricate and install the lines that will run from the cryogenic facility into the reservoir through a portion of Halcomb’s Landing and into Lake Cumberland’s forebay. The public can expect temporary closures to only portions of Halcomb’s Landing Recreation Area as work proceeds.

Construction will begin downstream of the dam and then the lines will be trenched under US 127 and through Halcomb’s Landing in late fall after the peak recreation season. Lines will then be installed in the forebay. US 127 and Halcomb’s Landing will remain open or partially open throughout the construction period.