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74-GavinsPointDamVisitorsCenterAug2022

Gavins Point Dam

SPILLWAY: The spillway is a concrete structure composed of 14 tainter gates. The main job of the spillway is to discharge excess water incapable of running through the power plant. This summer we have been letting out an average of 70,000 ft.³ of water per second from our 14 tainter gates. On an average year, we don't have to use our spillway but with all the precipitation this summer, our spillway has been used.

POWERPLANT: The power plant itself can accept 32,000 ft.³ of water per second, with 10,000 ft. ft.³ per second running through each of the dams, three generators. If the power plant reaches its maximum discharge rate, the spillways tainter gates will be used. As water runs through the powerplant and each of the three generators, Hydro power is produced. Traveling from the power plant to the transformer yard are cables carrying 13,800 V of electricity. Gavins Point Dam produces about $22 million worth of power each year, highlighting its great importance to the surrounding areas. Annual maintenance checks are performed on the turbines during winter, when power demand is lowest.

EMBANKMENT: The embankment on Gavins Point Dam is constructed entirely of selected earth fill material. The core consists of impervious soils, which are anchored and sealed by compacted chalk and shale layers. The embankment is made up of 7,000,000 yd.³ of surrounding materials. If you lined up dump trucks full of dirt, you could create a path from Yankton, South Dakota to New York City, New York. The height of the embankment is 74 feet and the length ranges to a 1.6 mile length.

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