MORRIS, Ill. (Feb. 5, 2009) - In an effort to prevent large blocks of ice in the Kankakee River from damaging bridges and personal property, the Will County Emergency Management Agency began siphoning warm water from the Dresden Station cooling pond into the river today.
According to Will County Emergency Management Director Harold Damron, recent cold temperatures have caused ice in several areas of the river to reach about eight inches in thickness. With warmer temperatures predicted over the coming weekend, he is concerned that large sheets of ice may break apart and float. "The warm water from Dresden's pond helps to maintain the river's natural flow, which lessens the likelihood of damage as the ice makes its way downstream," Damron said.
He added that ice jams can cause flooding because they act as dams, preventing melting snow that enters the river from flowing downstream. "We appreciate Dresden's cooperation in helping us minimize the severity of icing on the river."
The 70-degree F water is siphoned from the cooling pond through a trio of 3-foot diameter pipes located at the northeastern corner of the pond. They run from the bottom of the pond, over the dike, under Cottage Road and into the Kankakee River. Although the siphon lines are located on Dresden Station property, they are operated by the Will County Emergency Management Agency.
"Winters in northern Illinois are hard enough, without having to cope with ice jams and flooding," said Dave Wozniak, Dresden site vice president. "If the warm water in our cooling pond can provide some relief for our neighbors, we're more than glad to help."
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency allows the siphon lines to be operated twice a season for 14-day intervals each. This is the second time this year that they are being placed in service. The Emergency Management Agency siphoned warm water to the river during the frigid weather from Jan. 7 - 21.
Dresden Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station's two operating units can produce more than 1,700 megawatts net of electricity per hour. Dresden Unit 1, which began commercial operation in 1960 and was retired in 1978, has been designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.