After A Dam Malfunction Dried Up The Boise River, Ada County To Hold Public Meeting

May 13, 2015

The public will have the chance to talk with elected officials about a power outage that caused the Boise River to dry up earlier this year. The Ada County Commission is holding a meeting on May 27 to discuss the accidental dewatering.

As KBSX broke the story on February 4, Boiseans woke up to a river that was significantly lower than normal. We learned the cause of the low flow was an overnight power outage at the Barber Dam.  The hydroelectric plant is owned by Ada County and leased to Enel Green Power, an international company. Idaho Fish and Game raised concerns about potential fish mortality as a result of the loss of water, and the Idaho Conservation League flagged the incident as "particularly troubling for fish."

At the time, Jessica Donald with Ada County said Enel installed a secondary alert system that was being closely monitored. The initial alert system had failed when the power outage happened, which caused the river to back up behind Barber Dam for eight hours before workers learned of the outage. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had also asked for an investigation.

According to a press release from Ada County, the public meeting "will include a brief presentation about the Barber Dam, along with details regarding the power outage and its cause, as well as steps being taken to address the incident and its impact. Representatives from Fulcrum, LLC, a subsidiary of Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), and Idaho Fish and Game will be on hand to participate."

The May 27 meeting will take place at the Ada County Courthouse in downtown Boise from 6-8 p.m.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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