While evacuations were ordered earlier today and alerts were being sent about the possible failure of the Bell Falls dam, this assurance just came in this evening (April 25) via Newswire from Hydro-Québec.
A press release contained the following information: The Chute-Bell Falls generating facility has an overflow dam allowing water to spill over its crest in the event of excess discharges. The 1,000-year flood level for which the dam was designed has been reached.
Weather forecasts call for precipitation that will further increase water levels in the Rivière Rouge in the next few hours. The higher levels should have very little impact on the Rivière des Outaouais (Ottawa River), located 18 kilometres away, and do not pose any threat to Carillon generating station.
As a precaution, Hydro-Québec has asked the Ministère de la Sécurité publique to evacuate some 50 primary or secondary residences located downstream of the Chute‑Bell facility.
Chute-Bell generating station is in good working order and has always been properly maintained, as is the case for all Hydro-Québec facilities.
Hydro-Québec would like to reassure the population that the evacuation order was issued as a precautionary measure only. When public safety is at stake, the company prefers to err on the side of caution. We are closely monitoring the level of all Québec rivers on which we operate facilities, and can affirm that currently, the situation on the Rouge is unique.