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Changing Times The Challenges and

Risks of Managing Aging Infrastructure

Under a New Financial Reality

33rd Annual USSD Conference

Phoenix, Arizona, February 11-15, 2013

Co-Hosted by
Bureau of Reclamation and Salt River Project
On the Cover
The original Theodore Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, the first major structure built by the Bureau of
Reclamation on the Salt River Project. The dam, located about 75 miles northeast of Phoenix, had an original height
of 280 feet, and was highest masonry dam in the world. In 1996, a project to expand and renovate the dam was
completed. This project raised the dam by 77 feet for a total height of 357 feet and resulting in a 20 percent increase
in reservoir capacity. The expansion of the dam was accomplished using a concrete overlay. The cost of the
expansion totaled $430 million and included the realignment of a highway over a new bridge, improvements to the
power plant and a tunneled lake tap.

U.S. Society on Dams


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for the benefit of society.

Mission USSD is dedicated to:

Advancing the knowledge of dam engineering, construction, planning, operation,

performance, rehabilitation, decommissioning, maintenance, security and safety;
Fostering dam technology for socially, environmentally and financially sustainable water
resources systems;
Providing public awareness of the role of dams in the management of the nation's water
Enhancing practices to meet current and future challenges on dams; and
Representing the United States as an active member of the International Commission on
Large Dams (ICOLD).

The information contained in this publication regarding commercial projects or firms may not be used for
advertising or promotional purposes and may not be construed as an endorsement of any product or
from by the United States Society on Dams. USSD accepts no responsibility for the statements made
or the opinions expressed in this publication.

Copyright 2013 U.S. Society on Dams

Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013930528
ISBN 978-1-884575-58-7

U.S. Society on Dams

1616 Seventeenth Street, #483
Denver, CO 80202
Telephone: 303-628-5430
Fax: 303-628-5431

Whitney Hansen, PE1

William Forsmark, PE2
Robert Meyers3


In 2007, the nearly 90-year old existing penstock ruptured at the McClure Hydroelectric
facility, located in Marquette, Michigan. The 7-foot diameter part concrete-encased
wood stave penstock and part buried steel penstock conveyed water 2.5 miles with about
400 feet of vertical drop from the dam to the 8-megawatt powerhouse. Barr Engineering
Co. performed a replacement alternatives study and developed the detailed design for full
replacement of the penstock with spiral weld steel (SWS) pipe, after nearly 2 years of
studies and discussion with FERC on the life-cycle of the existing penstock.

The unique aspects of the project include a remote work site, environmental constraints,
new surge protection, embankment stability during construction, railroad and trout stream
crossing, and an extensive alternatives evaluation.

Barr performed detailed design for the steel penstock, a new pressure/vacuum relief
system, and thrust blocks to prevent pipe movement along alignment. The new penstock
tied in to the existing concrete intake structure, surge tank and powerhouse, slip-lined
through an existing concrete encasement underneath a railroad, and extended above
ground at two aerial crossings over protected wetlands. Barr also provided detailed site
work and erosion control design along with existing penstock demolition and
abandonment. The project required detailed geotechnical design for the earth-
embankment dam, including evaluation of seepage and slope stability for embankment
excavations, design of temporary shoring for excavation associated with the penstock
replacement, settlement and movement predictions, movement-monitoring systems, and
design of pipe subgrade and fill.

Barr developed a detailed startup and commissioning plan and was onsite throughout
construction and commissioning. During startup and commissioning, pressure
transducers were installed in the penstock to correlate actual penstock pressures with
design pressures.

Many lessons were learned throughout design and construction. A few of these issues are
listed and described, along with recommendations for future projects.

Barr Engineering Co., 4700 W 77th St Minneapolis, MN 55435, 953-832-2931,
Barr Engineering Co., 4700 W 77th St. Minneapolis, MN 55435, 952-832-2843,
Upper Peninsula Power Company, 500 N. Washington St. Ishpeming, MI, 49849, 906-485-2419,

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 999

The McClure Penstock Replacement project consisted of replacing the existing 13,302-
foot long penstock with new penstock pipe materials. Construction of the original
penstock was initiated in 1918 and was fully functional in 1919. In 2007 a portion of the
penstock failed at an expansion joint. The penstock was taken out of service, and was
subsequently inspected and evaluated. Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCo) owns
and operates the McClure Hydroelectric project. The McClure Dam is part of the Dead
River Project licensed by FERC (Project 10855).

The McClure Storage Basin/Reservoir is located on the Dead River above river mile 11.3
from Lake Superior. The McClure dam impounds water for about 4 miles upstream, with
a normal storage of 1832 acre-ft. and a 137.2-square-mile drainage area above the
Reservoir. A 13,302-foot long 7-foot diameter penstock leading from the McClure Dam
to the McClure Powerhouse provides approximately 400 vertical feet of head to the 8-
megawatt McClure Power Generating Station.

Figure 1. Original Penstock at Crossing

Barr Engineering Co. was retained by UPPCO to evaluate various options for pipeline
repair and/or replacement, and concluded that replacement of the entire penstock would
provide the greatest reliability and be most cost effective. Different penstock
technologies were evaluated, and the recommended penstock replacement consisted of
installing centrifugally cast fiber reinforced plastic mortar (CCFRPM) or spiral weld steel
(SWS) pipe alongside the existing concrete-encased wood stave penstock sections, and
replacing the riveted steel sections of the penstock with SWS pipe. The project was bid
with an option to replace the entire penstock with SWS, and this was the most
economical option and was chosen by the contractor. Project construction started in
September of 2009 and the startup and commissioning of the new penstock system
occurred in October and November of 2010. The system was fully functioning in
December 2010.

This paper details the design and construction process along with the startup and
commissioning work involved in replacing the McClure Penstock. Lessons learned
throughout design and construction are included at the end of the paper.

1000 Managing Aging Infrastructure


An evaluation of alternatives was performed to determine the most reliable and cost
effective replacement option for the McClure penstock. Thirteen different penstock
materials or technologies were considered for replacing the existing 84-inch-diameter
penstock. The evaluation criteria considered a range of factors, including reliability,
performance, maintenance, and technical effectiveness for materials, and cost, schedule,
environmental impacts, and operational characteristics. Each of the following materials
or technologies was considered for preliminary screening: Spiral Weld Steel (SWS),
Longitudinal Weld Steel, Ductile Iron Pipe, Reinforced Concrete Pressure Pipe,
Reinforced Concrete Cylinder Pipe, Pre-stressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe, Cast In Place
Slip-lining, Centrifugal Cast Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Mortar Pipe, Poly Vinyl
Chloride, High Density Polyethylene, Wood-stave Pipe, and Rock tunnel using Tunnel
Boring Machine construction.

Based primarily on cost, performance criteria (expected service pressure and nominal 84-
inch diameter), and schedule for procurement and installation, the recommended
penstock replacement materials consisted of the following:

Shallow bury Centrifugal Cast Fiber Reinforced Plastic Mortar (CCFRPM) was
recommended as the preferred option for replacement of the existing concrete-encased
wood stave penstock, where static pressure head is generally under 100 psi. The
CCFRPM pipe was determined to be a viable pipe material with an acceptable schedule
for pipe installation, primarily due to the slip on pressure gasket system and light weight
of the pipe segments. Shallow bury SWS pipe was determined to be an acceptable
alternate for all CCFRPM pipe.

The SWS pipe was recommended for replacement of the higher head portions of the
penstock system (static pressure greater than 100 psi). The SWS pipe was the only
economically viable configuration able to accommodate the anticipated working
pressures for the downstream portions of the penstock, including the expected range of
surge pressures.

Figure 2. SWS Pipe, 7-foot Diameter

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1001

The alternatives evaluation process considered potential alignment modifications, but
concluded that the existing alignment follows a reasonably efficient and direct line
between the dam and powerhouse. In addition, the original construction of the existing
penstock modified the topography in some areas along the alignment to provide a
reasonably uniform and stable grade for the penstock. Therefore, no major alignment
changes were recommended for the replacement penstock.

Figure 3. Existing Buried Pipe Alignment

Minor alignment modifications were anticipated to accommodate constructability or

hydraulic improvements, staying well within the existing 400-foot project easements.
The replacement alignment generally maintained the centerline of the new pipe within
about 11 feet of the centerline of the original penstock alignment. Options were
considered for the removal or in-place abandonment of existing penstock materials. The
option chosen was to abandon the majority of the concrete-encased wood stave penstock
in place, and remove the entire riveted steel penstock.


Field investigations were needed to support both alternative alignments and the detailed
design of penstock replacement. The investigation work included topographic survey,
wetland delineation, interior laser survey of the upstream portion of the penstock, soil
borings, bedrock location probes, test pits, concrete cores, and soil electrical resistivity
and chemical characteristics laboratory testing.

The topographic survey was performed to determine the centerline of the original
penstock, tree line, power lines, existing road locations and width, and slopes of
surrounding projects. Wetland delineation was performed to determine the wetlands in
the project area and provide information for necessary permitting. The interior laser
survey of the upstream portion of the penstock was performed to determine if slip lining
of the original concrete-encased wood stave penstock was a feasible option. The soil
borings were performed to determine the soil bedding under the penstock. Concrete
cores were taken at the intake structure and surge tank to determine strength of the
existing structures to determine if they were adequate to leave in place or if they needed

1002 Managing Aging Infrastructure

repair or replacement. Concrete cores were also taken at a couple locations along the
concrete encased wood stave penstock to determine the strength of the existing concrete.
Bedrock probes were performed in areas where bedrock was anticipated to determine
bedrock depths. Test pits were performed along the original concrete-encased wood
stave penstock to better understand the size of the concrete encasement and the bedding
at the base of the penstock. Test pits were also dug on the entrance and exit of the surge
tank to identify tie-in details not provided on old drawings, and provide access for
concrete cores at the lower, buried portions of the surge tank.

A total of 87 soil borings were performed along the penstock alignment, at approximately
300-foot intervals from the embankment to the concrete-encased wood stave
penstock/steel penstock transition and at roughly 50-foot intervals between the transition
point and the powerhouse. Generally the borings were advanced to a depth of about 15
feet below ground surface or to the depth of bedrock, whichever was less.

To prepare the site for demolition and construction activities, the results of the soil
borings, rock coring, and laboratory tests were compiled to obtain an understanding of
the lithology along the existing penstock. The existing conditions, as determined from
field and lab data, consisted of topsoil underlain primarily by different gradations of
sandy soils and a few cohesive (predominantly silty or clayey) soils, a few areas of peat,
and shallow bedrock. Static groundwater was typically not encountered during the
explorations, except in a few areas. In the areas where peat was encountered the design
included soil remediation to remove the existing peat below the penstock and replace
with sand soils.

Access roads were installed along the entire length of the penstock for easier access to the
penstock. One of the complexities of construction was that the upstream 10,500 feet of
penstock was only accessible by vehicle from the dam intake at the upstream end of the
site; whereas, the lower 2,700 feet of the penstock was only accessible by vehicle from
the powerhouse at the downstream end of the site. A trout stream extends underneath the
penstock at station 9+50 and there was no vehicle access across the stream.
Modifications were made to existing access roads for construction traffic to access the
site from both the dam and powerhouse. New access roads were built and existing roads
upgraded to accommodate construction traffic to access the penstock alignment.


Demolition started in September of 2009 and the majority of the demolition work was
completed in 2009, so all the new construction work could be completed within one
normal construction season for the climate of the area. The existing concrete-encased
wood stave penstock was generally abandoned in place to limit demolition costs due to
transport and disposal. The existing intake structure at the McClure Dam and the turbine
generator equipment at the McClure Powerhouse remained in place in their present
condition and the existing surge tank was preserved with minor modifications to

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1003

accommodate the new SWS penstock pipe. Existing supports at wetland crossings were


The new penstock consisting of the following major elements, in order from upstream to
downstream and as shown in Figure 4:

1. Retain existing intake structure and tie in new SWS penstock to existing mass concrete
2. Replace existing intake butterfly valve with a new butterfly valve at the same location
3. Install flow monitoring instrumentation in the new penstock between stations 130+23
4. Remove existing steel and concrete-encased wood stave penstock between the intake
and Station 128+50 and replace with new SWS penstock.
5. Abandon existing concrete-encased wood stave penstock in place, installing bulkheads
and drains at ends
6. Install new penstock parallel along the north side of the existing concrete-encased
wood stave penstock alignment between Stations 131+00 to 36+00
7. Retain the existing surge tank, with new penstock slip lined into existing concrete
collars on the upstream and downstream side of surge tank
8. Slip line new SWS pipe inside existing concrete encasement under the existing LS&I
railroad crossing, and grout between the new pipe and existing concrete
9. Fill the existing concrete-encased wood stave penstock with a controlled low strength
material in areas where access roads cross over the top of concrete-encased wood stave
penstock abandoned in place
10. Install new air / vacuum valves and drain valves in the same general location as
existing penstock air valves and drain valves
11. Install new SWS pipe to replace existing pipe along the same alignment as the
existing pipe between Stations 36+00 and 0+00
12. Reuse existing support piers to cross wetlands and streams. The support saddles were
replaced to accommodate the new steel pipe outer diameter.
13. Install flow monitoring instrumentation upstream of the powerhouse and penstock
bifurcation between station 0+55 and 0+62
14. Install new penstock bifurcation piece with modified geometry to improve system
hydraulics. The bifurcation splits the penstock flow to two turbine units and reduces the
penstock diameter from 60-inch to 42-inch.
15. Install a new transient pressure relief system inside the powerhouse just upstream of
the new knife gate valves
16. Install new 42-inch knife gate valves to replace existing spherical wafer valves
upstream of each turbine unit

1004 Managing Aging Infrastructure

Figure 4. Project Site Plan

Construction of the new penstock pipe started in March was completed in October 2010.
The following is a summary of design and construction considerations for the major
project features:

Penstock Design

The contractor chose to replace the penstock with SWS along the entire length. The steel
penstock was designed according to the American Water Works Associations Steel
Water Pipe: A Guide for Design and Installation (M11) Fourth Edition and ASCEs
Reports on Engineering Practice No. 79 Steel Penstocks, MI OSHA, OSHA, and ASME
Code, Section VIII. The approximately 13,100 feet of 7-foot diameter SWS penstock
varied in thickness from 0.25 to 0.88 inches, with static pressures of 10 to 175 psig. For
the low pressure areas, the design was governed by shipping requirements for pipe
stresses associated with handling. For the higher pressure penstock sections downstream
of the surge tank the penstock design was based on modeled surge pressures, with
maximum surge pressures approaching 400 psi. Hydraulic modeling was completed to
gain a better understanding of anticipated surge pressures and is discussed in greater
detail in the pressure relief system section. The owner purchased the raw steel materials
six months before the final design was completed due to the low steel prices at the time
and was able to save a significant amount of money.

Thrust Block Design

Thrust blocks were design based on AWWAs Steel Water Pipe: A Guide for Design and
Installation (M11) Fourth Edition, ASCEs Reports on Engineering Practice No. 79 Steel
Penstocks and AWWA Standard M45 Fiberglass Pipe Design Manual. Most of the
alignment consisted of a shallow bury installation with open cut construction. There
were two aerial crossings where the pipe is supported on cradles and several areas where
steel pipe was set inside existing concrete encasements. Thrust blocks were provided to
restrain penstock thrust loads in locations where pipe alignment changes could not be
adequately restrained by passive soil pressures. The pipe restraints consisted of reinforced
concrete mass blocks cast in direct contact with penstock bends to efficiently transfer
thrust loads from the penstock to the thrust block, and from the thrust block to
surrounding soil or bedrock.

Embankment Dam

The existing penstock pipe was buried in the McClure Dam earth embankment. The
reservoir could not be drawn down during construction so it was necessary to assure

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1005

embankment stability and integrity throughout the construction period. Existing penstock
pipe materials in the earth embankment were excavated and removed, and new penstock
pipe was placed in nearly the same alignment. To facilitate the excavation, and maintain
a safe slope for the excavation and for dam embankment, a steel sheet pile wall was
installed to act as a cantilever retaining wall. The sheet pile and excavation geometry
was evaluated to assure stable slopes for normal pool and maximum pool conditions.
The steel sheets were left in place after construction to provide protection in the event of
a penstock pipe failure, limiting erosion and back-cutting of the embankment dam. The
embankment is comprised of sand material, with no indications of weak seams or silt
materials that would indicate substantive concerns with potential liquefaction. However,
to minimize the potential for liquefaction, sheet pile driving was accomplished with
diesel impact hammer driving equipment, and vibratory driving equipment was not
allowed. During excavation downstream of the sheet pile, survey points located on the
sheet pile were surveyed daily to monitor movement of the sheet pile.

Figure 5. Embankment with Steel Sheet Pile

A horizontal layer of fiber reinforced concrete was placed from the sheet pile extending
downstream until it daylights on the embankment slope. This concrete layer provides
erosion protection that limits erosion in the event of a pipe rupture to the same essential
limits as the construction excavation.

Flow Monitoring

When the penstock failed in 2007, there was significant environmental damage
downstream. The installation of a flow monitoring system was included in the new
penstock system to provide an early warning and reduce the impact of a potential failure.
Flow monitoring instrumentation was added at the upstream and downstream ends of the
system to detect differences in flow that would indicate a significant pipe failure. Flow
meters were installed in the penstock at the upstream end near the intake valve, and the

1006 Managing Aging Infrastructure

downstream end near the powerhouse, upstream of the bifurcation. Flow data is
monitored and evaluated using a programmed logic to compare upstream flow
measurement to downstream flow measurement. When a significant difference in flow is
detected, an alarm is issued for an operator to go to the site and investigate. If an
operator discovers a problem, the control valve at the penstock intake can be operated
remotely to shut down flows.

Surge Tank

The existing surge tank was left in place after inspection and material testing found the
surge tank to be in good condition. The surge tank embankment was excavated to
facilitate access to the existing penstock entrance and exit collars. The concrete-encased
timber conduits leading into and away from the surge tank were slip lined with the new
SWS pipe. The annulus between the SWS penstock pipe and the concrete collar was
grouted. The embankment fill was replaced, and erosion protection was placed on the
ground around the surge tank, around each vent extending down the slope to provide
protection in the event of surge flow over the vents. This consisted of a riprap rock drop
area directly below the vent, riprap at the toe of the embankment slope, and a heavy duty
erosion control mat was installed along the embankment slope.

Railroad Crossing

The LS&I railroad crosses over the penstock at a location downstream from the surge
tank. The railroad does not operate during winter months. To take advantage of this, the
new steel portion of the penstock was placed underneath the railroad, early in the
construction season before railroad operation started up in the spring. The original design
was to do an open cut and lay in the new penstock, but because of concerns from the
railroad and timing issues an alternative to slip line the pipe was developed. The existing
concrete encasement under the LS&I railroad was exposed and inspected in March, 2010,
and found to be in good condition. The wood staves were removed from the interior of
the encasement, providing adequate room to sleeve the new steel pipe inside the concrete
encasement. Loose and deteriorated concrete, where present, was removed. The interior
surfaces were pressure washed prior to the installation of the steel pipe. Grout was
placed on the invert of the existing encasement concrete to provide a solid base before the
steel pipe sleeve was inserted into the encasement. A single section of steel pipe was set
extending through the entire encasement and shimmed in position. The space between
the steel pipe and the concrete encasement was filled with cementitious grout. The
grouting work was completed three days prior to 2010 rail traffic over the crossing
providing adequate grout strength to support full rail traffic loading.

Air/Vacuum and Drain Valves

Air/vacuum valves were installed at three locations at the high points along the penstock
profile to release air during penstock fill operation and prevent vacuum pressure during
penstock draining. Redundant air/vacuum valves that were heated replaced the old
system. An existing stand pipe air vent was replaced in kind just downstream of the

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1007

intake structure, 6 feet in diameter, 22 feet high, retaining the look of the existing air
vent. Drains were installed at the low points and along areas of low gradient to drain
water when the penstock is dewatered for inspection and maintenance. There were four
drains installed along the penstock.

Penstock Crossings

The penstock crosses a trout stream at station 9+50 and a wetland at station 11+75. The
existing footings and bents were retained at the stream crossing. When the new penstock
was installed the top portion of these structures were removed and a new teflon bearing
surface was installed to cradle the new penstock on the existing structures. A new
walkway was constructed on the pipe crown with grating and handrails to provide safe
personnel access over these crossings. An expansion joint was installed at each of the
penstock crossings. The teflon bearing surface allows the penstock to slide along the
support as it expands and contracts due to temperature changes.

Pressure Relief System

The surge pressure design was critical to the design of the penstock and the design of the
surge protection and was developed based on the closure time of the wicket gates.
Design criteria assumed a total design flow rate for power generation of 390 cfs, or 195
cfs per turbine. Because the existing penstock was out of service the design was
developed based on available historic records. Two normal operation closure rates were
used. The first included a uniform closure rate of 20 seconds, which was assumed to be a
linear flow reduction over time. The second normal operation rate was a 13-second initial
closure time followed by an 8-second final closure time, which was assumed based on
operational characteristics of the closure valve equipment to be a two stage linear flow
reduction with 30 percent of the flow being stopped in the final 8-second closure time.
An emergency closure was also considered, consisting of both wicket gates closing at the
same time, with the 13-second initial closure and final 8-second closure times.

Because transient modeling was based on reasonable assumptions wicket gate closure
times were carefully timed and modified during startup and commissioning to match
design assumptions, and pipe pressure measurements were verified with temporary
pressure transducers. The hydraulic design criteria was based on reasonable assumptions,
due to the inability to physically test the existing wicket gates and the lack of information
on closure rates. During startup and commissioning the wicket gate closure times were
timed and modified to match design assumptions.

Since the original acorn valve relief system could not be proven by current engineering
standards, an additional transient relief system was installed. The system consists of Flex
Flo valves, bladder tanks, a pressure charge system, and relief piping to vent the air and
water from the Flex Flo valves was added to the system. This system also includes
piping to connect the components, ball valves to isolate the Flex Flo valves and bladder
tank components, a pressure manifold and air pressure tanks to charge the system, and
gages to monitor system pressures. The system routes the relief discharge pipes through

1008 Managing Aging Infrastructure

the upstream face of the powerhouse, and then extends below grade around the
powerhouse perimeter to the left bank of the tailrace.


The penstock bifurcation splits the existing 84-inch diameter steel penstock into two 60-
inch diameter pipes. The bifurcation was designed using finite element analysis to ensure
stresses in the steel were below allowable stresses. The bifurcation was temporarily
supported with steel I-beams to secure the steel pipe at the proper location and elevation.
After the bifurcation was set, the bifurcation ends were attached to the powerhouse spool
pieces with butt strap connections at the bifurcation. A concrete thrust block was poured
to encase the bifurcation and transfer the thrust loads into the surrounding soil and

Figure 6. Penstock Bifurcation


Startup and commissioning started in October 2010 with inspections on the interior and
exterior of the penstock. A detailed startup and commissioning plan was written and
followed closely. Prior to startup and commissioning, temporary pressure monitoring
transducers, as shown in Figure 7, were installed at key locations on the penstock system
and the condition of the project work was verified to ensure that it was complete and
suitable for startup and commissioning activities. The temporary pressure transducer taps
were abandoned by welding a cap with a backer plate over the hole in the penstock wall
with a full penetration weld after the start up and commissioning work was completed.

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1009

Figure 7. Temporary Transducers

The transient relief system was inspected and tested prior to turbine operation, including
verification of relief system valve positions, pressurizing the system, and evaluating the
system for pressure loss. The FlexFlo valves were tested during static fill to verify valve
operation (opening) by manual valve opening, and by lowering the threshold pressure at
the pressure skid until the valves open.

The initial static fill consisted of filling the penstock pipeline and inspecting and
verifying acceptable performance of critical features. Static fill verification tasks took
approximately two weeks. The penstock fill rate was controlled by adjusting the position
of intake bulkheads. The intake butterfly valve was operated for a timed duration of 3
minutes and 30 seconds from the closed position (approximately 20% open). Initially the
penstock was filled to station 35+00, which correlates to approximately 170 feet of head
and about 73 psi of pressure at the powerhouse. Bolts on both penstock expansion joints
were tightened to stop expansion joint leaks at both locations. Drips were also noted on
the Unit 1 knife gate and at one manhole. The Contractor tightened bolts on the knife
gate to stop the leak at the knife gate. The manhole was flagged for on-going inspection
during commissioning, and repair after commissioning was completed.

On the second day of startup work, the intake bulkheads were lifted again, raising the
penstock water level to approximately Station 85+00, which correlates to approximately
280 feet of head and 120 psi pressure at the powerhouse. A drip was again noted on the
Unit 1 knife gate. Later in the day, after a hold period, the bulkheads were again lifted to
finish the fill process. As fill progressed, the drip at Unit 1 increased to a spray. The fill
process was suspended, and the penstock was drained partially until the spray and drip
were eliminated. After tightening the bolts on the Unit 1 valve flanges, the pipe was
filled in a controlled manner to full head. A leak was subsequently noted on the Victaulic
coupling adjacent to the knife gate in front of Unit 2. The Contractor tightened the
coupling bolts, and cracks were observed in the paint over the fillet welds connecting the
bolted horizontal plates to the circumferential plates. The penstock was drained to
evaluate the coupler conditions. The coupling manufacturer was consulted and magnetic
particle testing was performed to verify that cracks were only paint stress and did not
represent deficiencies in the steel coupling body. While the penstock was drained,

1010 Managing Aging Infrastructure

gaskets were replaced on the 42-inch valve flanges because the existing gaskets required
greater compressive force than the valve or existing turbine flange could accommodate.
After this work was completed, the penstock was filled in a controlled manner to full
static head. No leaks were observed, and penstock static fill testing was completed.

Plant Startup and System Load testing consisted of verifying and adjusting wicket gate
dry closure timing, discharging flow through the turbines, monitoring penstock system
pressures, putting turbine generator units online and controlled shutdown of turbine units.
The turbines were operated at progressively higher RPM rates to break in new turbine

Plant startup and system loading was performed for approximately 3 weeks. By the
middle of November, both units were able to sync online. After wicket gate dry closure
timing was set to acceptable levels, turbine generator load rejection testing began. Four
single unit load tests were performed on each unit, consisting of load trips at wicket gate
settings of 25%, 50%, 75% and 95%. The 95% setting is considered full open or
maximum load condition by UPPCo operations staff. This correlates to the 100% load or
maximum load case modeled for hydraulic transient load rejection. Measured discharge,
maximum over speed of the turbine, and maximum pressure spike during turbine
shutdown are summarized in Table 1 for Unit 1 and Table 2 for Unit 2. Normal turbine
speed for the horizontal units is 600 rpms.
Table 1. Unit 1 Single Unit Load Rejection Results
Wicket Gate % Max Overspeed Peak
open Flow (cfs) (rpm) Pressure (psi)
25% 55 646 187.0
50% 90 712 187.5
75% 140 802 187.5
95% 165 865 191.5

Table 2. Unit 2 Single Unit Load Rejection Results

Wicket Gate % Max Overspeed Peak

open Flow (cfs) (rpm) Pressure (psi)
25% 40 627 187.5
50% 89 700 188.0
75% 138 792 187.0
95% 166 853 196.0

Results from single unit load rejection tests were used to calibrate the transient model for
two unit load rejection. Two unit load simultaneous load rejection testing was also
performed in increasingly higher flow rates, with peak pressures reviewed after each load
case before proceeding with the next load case. Data from two unit testing is summarized
in Table 3.

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1011

Table 3. Two Unit Load Rejection Summary
Wicket Gate Flow Max Overspeed Max Pressure
% open Unit Shutdown (cfs) (rpm) (psi)
50% Unit 2 175 Not Available 185.5
Unit 1/
50% Unit 2 170 Not Available 191.5
75% Unit 2 265 768 192.0
75% Unit 1 / Unit 2 270 788 / 772 193.0
95% Unit 2 315 824 184.0
95% Unit 1 / Unit 2 320 844 / 840 199.5

The maximum pressures measured during commissioning were during initial opening of
the 42-inch knife gate valve. For single unit, a peak pressures of 206.5 psi were
observed. For two units peak pressures of 207 psi were observed. The newly designed
Flex Flow valves and system did not operate, as the existing system handled the
pressure increases, before the new system would need to operate at 245 psi. The
observed maximum pressures were in line with expected pressures and well below
maximum acceptable pressures.


As should be expected with every major design and construction project, a few issues
were encountered during construction that required additional evaluation and
modifications or adjustments to the original design. These issues are described below as
lessons learned to use in future designs.

Lesson 1: Bonding of Teflon Bearing Surfaces

The design called for teflon coated steel bearing plates to be installed on the saddle
supports at the two aerial crossings to reduce friction and allow the steel penstock to
expand and contract with temperature changes. To accomplish this, the Contractors
fabricator used an industrial adhesive to install one-eighth inch thick Teflon to the rolled
steel saddle plates. The saddles were left onsite for a few weeks and with time the edges
of the Teflon delaminated from the steel saddle plates. This was observed predominantly
along the edges, but also in middle locations. The saddle plates were taken back to the
fabricators shop, and the Teflon was removed and re-adhered using Bondit-B45th.
The modified saddles were delivered to the site, the saddles were installed on the support
structures, and the penstock was set on the saddles. The dry fit up of the penstock on the
saddles resulted in gaps of up to -inch between the penstock and the saddle plate on
several of the support saddles. After several weeks, the Teflon was observed to have
delaminated in several locations. This was repaired in place by using sandpaper to
remove rust on the steel saddle, cleaning the surface with alcohol, injecting a rust
reducing primer (Bondit A-3) to the surface using a syringe, and then filling the
remaining void with a Teflon adhesive product, Bondit B482th. For future teflon bearing

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surfaces we recommend hot bonding of the teflon to steel surfaces instead of using
adhesion methods.

Lesson 2: Concrete Delivery and Placement Times

Due to bridge load restrictions on primary access roads to project areas accessed from the
upstream end of the site it was necessary to use much longer access routes to the site,
resulting in concrete delivery time from the batch plant to the project site was of
approximately one hour. This extended delivery time caused difficulties in meeting
placement time limitations in the Technical Specifications, especially if a concrete load
was rejected, or if concrete orders came up short of the necessary quantity to complete a
concrete pour, resulting in extended delays in placement between lifts, and concerns
about cold joints in structures. For future projects we recommend discussing in advance
the potential issues with concrete delivery time and double checking the quantity of
concrete needed for a specific pour.

Lesson 3: QA/QC of Penstock Joint Welds

As part of the quality control plan, 10 percent of the penstock welds were to be inspected
by a certified weld inspector (CWI). During the course of routine CWI inspection,
significant non-compliant welds were identified in late July, 2010. Review indicated
there was a need to revise the CWI inspection process and number of welds to be
inspected. Modifications were made to the inspection process and all joint welds on the
project site were required to be inspected by a CWI. In addition the need was there to
closely monitor welds, and adjust the workforce if necessary. At this same time, weld
inspectors indicated some areas where pipe joint gaps were greater than 1/8-inch (greater
than allowed by the specifications). This issue was reviewed with the CWI, engineer of
record, owner, and contractor. Procedures were developed to prevent gaps where
possible, and to modify weld procedures to correct gaps greater than 1/8-inch wide where
they could not be prevented. The contractors pipe laying crews and welders were
briefed on these procedures. For future projects we recommend having 100% of joint
welds inspected by a CWI.

Lesson 4: Re-use of Wetland Crossing Footings

The penstock replacement design assumed that stream and wetland crossings would re-
use the existing footings because these had adequately supported the existing penstock.
The existing penstock crossing saddles at a wetland crossing were found to be shallow
foundations that were not adequate to support the new penstock. The penstock support
design was modified in this area to use three supports instead of the original four supports
and accommodate the bearing plates that had already been fabricated with the pipe. Two
of the saddles were located within the wetland, consisting of cast in place concrete
saddles supported on a combination of concrete piles extending to bedrock. Pile
installation consisted of auguring into the soils to bedrock, and filling the augered hole
with a cement grout, a W-beam and reinforcing. One side of the both of these saddles

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1013

bears directly on bedrock. The third saddle, located farther upstream and outside of the
wetland, was cast on crushed rock over bedrock.

After the new supports were constructed, the steel penstock could not be set in place and
properly aligned on the saddle inverts. Further review indicated that the saddles were set
in a skewed alignment. The middle saddle was modified to correct the alignment with
the downstream saddle. The upstream saddle was removed, and the thrust block at
Station 11+98 was extended downstream to replace the removed saddle. The pipe was
set across the two remaining saddles. It was necessary to make further adjustments to the
saddles, grinding off portions of the steel saddle to provide adequate clearance. With
these adjustments, the pipe fit adequately. The next upstream pipe section was set, and
the thrust block at 11+98 was poured around penstock pipe. For future projects, we
recommend verification of existing footing foundation and bedding prior to assuming
they are adequate for reuse.

Lesson 5: Verification of Valve Flange and Gasket Compatibility

During initial penstock fill operations, leaks were observed at the flanges of the 42-inch
knife gate flanges and the turbine flanges at pressures above 150 psi. The upstream
flange on Unit 1 and Unit 2 leaked water as higher pressures were applied to the flange.
After reviewing the performance criteria and specifications with the valve and gasket
manufacturers, it was determined that the gaskets required greater compressive force than
the valve or existing turbine flange could accommodate. The 42-inch knife gate valve
flanges and turbine flange connections were disassembled and new gaskets were installed
that were designed to accommodate the necessary pressure requirements with flange
compression that are compatible with the valve flanges. For future projects we will
verify the compression required by the gaskets and compare that force with the force the
corresponding flanges can accommodate as part of the submittal review process.


Barr Engineering worked with the Upper Peninsula Power Company for nearly three
years to complete the alternatives evaluation, detailed design, construction, startup and
commissioning and final construction documentation. With good cooperation between
the consultant, client and contractor, a quality replacement of the penstock was built with
an emphasis on safety and environmental stewardship. After three years of being offline
due to the penstock failure, the McClure Hydroelectric project was online and producing
power in December 2010 and meeting current industry standards.


Thanks to the Upper Peninsula Power Company, the owner of the McClure Hydroelectric
Project and Garney Construction, the general contractor for the project, for all the hard
work and effort in successfully completing the penstock replacement work and
contributions to the valuable lessons learned process.

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ASCEs Reports on Engineering Practice No. 79 Steel Penstocks.

American Water Works Associations Steel Water Pipe: A Guide for Design and
Installation (M11) Fourth Edition.

American Water Works Associations Fiberglass Pipe Design (M45) First Edition.

McClure Penstock Replacement Project 1015

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