Bachelor of Science
Thomas Shahady, PhD
Jennifer Styrsky, PhD
Nina Salmon, PhD
Pump storage hydroelectricity is a system built by power companies where a dam separating an upper and lower reservoir is used in power generation by passing water between both reservoirs. Environmental regulations require a minimum of 5mg/L of dissolved oxygen be maintained at all times passing through each dam. In central Virginia, American Electric Power operates a hydroelectric Pump Storage Project that includes an upper reservoir, Smith Mountain Lake (SML), and a lower reservoir, Leesville Lake (LL). Unique to this system is the influx of high concentrations of nutrients and other pollutants into the upper reaches of Leesville Lake from a 1015 km2 Pigg River watershed less than 10 km from SML dam. This study examined the pump-storage operational influence of water exchanged between reservoirs with movement of Pigg River influx creating low dissolved oxygen concentrations at dam release. The study found that pump-storage coupled with Pigg River influx influences water quality parameters in Smith Mountain Lake release, specifically pertaining to dissolved oxygen reductions. Based on these findings, pump-storage operation should be considered in water quality management as these movements of water can be implicated in both release and overall observations in operational reservoirs.
Batchelor, Ethan, "The Importance of River Influx and Pump Storage Operation on Water Quality in a Storage Reservoir" (2020). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 156.