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CONTACT: John Grassy
Public Information Officer
Montana Dept. Natural Resources and Conservation
(406) 444-0465

October 2, 2012

With reservoir nearing full pool, engineers set to determine cause of gate failure at Toston Dam

TOSTON, MONT. – With installation of flashboards completed over the weekend, DNRC staff have nearly finished refilling Toston Reservoir following last week's failure of a rubber spillway bladder on the Toston Dam, according to DNRC Public Information Officer John Grassy.

"We now have the reservoir back to about 30 inches below full pool and both local irrigation projects are once again diverting water," Grassy said.  "They've been very happy with the speed of our response."

Grassy said the hydroelectric facility at the plant remains idle, but should be back online producing power before the end of the week.

Once the reservoir is filled and the power plant back online, staff from DNRC's State Water Projects Bureau will begin the process of evaluating the bladder failure and determining the appropriate repair or replacement efforts.  Toston Dam is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which must review and approve any proposed repairs or upgrades to the facility.

"We're just about finished with the recovery phase.  Then we'll begin the steps to determine exactly what caused the bladder to fail," Grassy said.  "From there, we'll develop a set of options for repair or replacement, including costs. We may bring in a consultant to assist with this process.  It'll be some time before we have all those options put together."

Grassy said DNRC engineers may leave the flashboard system in place through the winter and spring while they carry out the evaluation process, but only if they determine there won't be any potential safety issues.


John Grassy
Public Information Officer
Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
(406) 444-0465


Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation
1625 Eleventh Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074
Fax: (406) 444-2684