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NorthWestern Energy: Madison River flows restored after late-Wednesday night Hebgen Dam gate repair

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Dec 02, 2021

BUTTE - NorthWestern Energy said Thursday the Hebgen Dam release gate is open and outflows to the Madison River were restored just before midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The company said in a press release that follow-up work is still required, but water in the river has reached normal levels.

NorthWestern Energy hydro engineers and personnel worked around the clock to develop a repair plan and restore gate functionality and river flows to the Madison River as quickly as possible, safely.

Anaconda Foundry Fabrication Company (AFFCO) fabricated and machined the new gate component. Their staff worked through the night Tuesday and all day Wednesday to manufacture the part, then delivered it to Hebgen Dam Wednesday evening.

“This successful repair was the culmination of outstanding effort by many NorthWestern Energy employees and partner contractors. From the time this issue was identified, work was underway without stoppage until the river flows were restored,” said Jeremy Clotfelter, director of Hydro Operations.

The repair was completed safely and without requiring any further flow reduction in the river.

The company extended gratitude for the hard work of their partner agencies through this event, and especially to all who volunteered time with the fish relocation effort on the river. NorthWestern Energy said it is the Montana way to see all uniting for a common cause to help the Madison River.

“It’s heartwarming to see all uniting for a common cause to help the Madison River. These efforts will surely prove beneficial for years to come,” said Clotfelter.

About 15 NorthWestern Energy employees also joined the volunteer effort that gathered at Madison Foods Wednesday morning. The staff at Madison Foods helped volunteers to distribute water and food from Ennis to volunteers working at the river in conjunction with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks’ efforts.

“Our focus now turns to analysis of the failure and impacts to the river and fishery. While we know what failed on the gate, we need to identify ‘how’ and ‘why’ it failed to best establish corrective actions that would prevent a similar failure in the future,” said Clotfelter.

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