St. Joseph River level being lowered

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has authorized Indiana Michigan Power to draw down the St. Joseph River between Buchanan and Niles, to inspect and repair a damaged crest gate at the Buchanan Hydroelectric Plant.
The river will be lowered no more than four feet between the plant in Buchanan and the point where the Dowagiac River empties into the St. Joseph River, near Plym Park in the Niles.
The normal operating level of the river is 637.5 feet.
A more gradual lowering of the river may be noticed farther upstream to the French Paper Mill dam south of the city of Niles.
The draw down began Monday.
The river is scheduled to be returned to its normal operating level by July 28.
The north crest gate at the plant was discovered in an open, or “down,” position on Tuesday, July 7, indicating the gate had malfunctioned.
Both the central and south gates remained closed, or in the “up” position. The crest gates control the water flow used by the plant’s hydroelectric system.