A confidential energy client wanted to construct a pumped-storage hydroelectric facility at a former mining property. To convert the site into an operating facility, additional features were required, such as saddle dams, reservoir lining, and slope stabilization. The preliminary design also included underground works comprising pressure tunnels connecting the reservoirs through a cavern that houses turbines and generators along with an elevator shaft. The design of each of these features required extensive geotechnical investigation.
Barr was hired to conduct the first phase of the geotechnical investigation, which focused on a subsurface investigation for the proposed powerhouse location, geologic mapping of the proposed tunnel alignment, and remote sensing of the open pits. Based on the preliminary design of the powerhouse, it would require a relatively large volume of competent rock for construction. Barr’s primary goal for the geotechnical investigation focused on gathering data to determine if this block of competent rock was present.