Santee Cooper increases controlled spill at dam

On Oct. 7, South Carolina state-owned utility Santee Cooper increased its controlled spill at the Santee Dam to 82,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs), in response to extreme inflows coming into Lake Marion from the Midlands.

“I want to reassure everyone that Santee Cooper’s dams and dikes are secure,” said Pamela Williams, senior vice president of corporate services. “We are monitoring these increasing inflows and adjusting our spill to maintain a safe level of water in Lake Marion and our lower lake, Moultrie, as we continue to protect the integrity of our system.”

Spilling is a normal part of Santee Cooper’s hydroelectric operations in periods of increased flows into the lakes. Santee Cooper began spilling Sunday through six primary spillway gates at the Santee Dam, spilled at 50,000 cfs Monday and Tuesday and began increasing the spill late yesterday afternoon. Today’s increase to 82,000 cfs is equal to about 615,000 gallons of water per second.

Santee Cooper’s spilling operations are confined to Lake Marion and the Santee River system through a designed spillway structure. Santee Cooper has not increased, and will not be increasing, discharges into the Cooper River as a result of the flooding.

Spilling will continue until further notice, said the state-owned utility. Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s largest power producer, the largest Green Power generator and the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state.