Lake Blalock Dam Cylinder Replacement

Chesnee, SC

Spartanburg Water
Delivery Method

Project Description

This project involved replacement of six cylinders that control the three water level gates for Blalock Dam. The cylinders were installed about 20 years ago, and it was noticed that the cylinders in the first channel began leaking hydraulic fluid.  Once the first cylinder was removed and replaced, the decision was made to move forward with changing the cylinders in each of the channels.

In order to change these cylinders, we had a number of factors that we had to work around. Crane access at the furthest point was close to 100’ away from where we could set the crane up. We utilized a 100T Crane in order to do the lifting that was required for this project.  Prior to removing the cylinders, we had to place three 7,500 LB stop logs in the channels in order to block the flow of water for the gate to be opened completely. Each cylinder weighed about 6,000 LBS and was connected to the bottom of the gate with a precisely machined pin. We had to use caution when removing the pin not to damage, or lose it – as we were working right on the edge of the dam. We had to remove the cylinders in pairs, and then ship them off to be rebuilt by the manufacturer.  Once repaired, we installed the repaired cylinders, and pulled the next set. All of this was done in an area that created several hazards – we had fall hazards, water hazards, weather hazards that all combined, so we had to be extra careful and take our safety, PPE and planning very seriously.