Marveling at How the Kinzua Dam is Powered

October 1, 2023

Many people drive by and get to see the beauty of the Kinzua Dam, but few actually see how it’s actually operated.

The Seneca Pump Storage Generating Station recently gave a tour to the Warren County Chamber of Industry and members of the media, showing the inner workings of how the dam is operated – and boy is it a site to behold.

Site Manager David Meyerotto gave insight as to how the station operates on a daily basis.

The numbers are staggering.

To generate power, water is pumped from the lower Allegheny Reservoir 800 feet to the upper storage reservoir (which people usually don’t see).

The upper storage reservoir is approximately two billion gallons, and the pumping is usually done at night.

From there, the water is released through a pipe to the power generation station below the dam.

There are three turbines below that power the dam, two larger ones and one smaller one. The smaller one is generally used to pump to the upper reservoir.

The two large turbines can generate up to 400 megawatts of electricity.

One of the turbines powering the Kinzua Dam.

And that’s not all of it.

Three more below ground levels are where the power generation actually occurs.

It’s a simple operation for those who work there, of which the staff size is relatively small. But for those who are seeing it for the first time, including this reporter, the inner workings are something to behold.

Everything working in unison to power the dam, and the sheer size of it all is quite impressive.

So are the people charged with running it, although they take their job in stride.

The dam was commissioned in 1970 as a flood control project and created the picturesque Allegheny Reservoir that so many of us know, love and visit.

And while we marvel at its beauty, it’s important to keep in mind the folks behind the scenes at the generating station that make it all go.

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