Leland Olds Station employees use special equipment to clear ice, get unit back online


Missouri River near Leland Olds Station
The Missouri River near Leland Olds Station.

Leland Olds Station has a feature that is unlike any other Basin Electric power plant -- it takes in water from the Missouri River for cooling and to produce steam.

That means sometimes debris coming into the water intake can cause issues.

At the end of January, the power plant was offline to repair a tube leak.

“We needed to get that fixed before the first week of February, when cold weather was coming in,” says Jason Cowan, Leland Olds Station plant manager.

Southwest Power Pool had issued a cold weather advisory effective at midnight on Feb. 2 in anticipation of cold weather.

The morning of Feb. 1, high winds coming out of the northwest caused “an excessive amount of ice and debris to be pushed into the intake structure at Unit 1,” Cowan says.

men standing near power plant
Kenny Ganske, Leland Olds control room operator, and Scott Barbie, Leland Olds boiler attendant.

With the ice and debris clogging up the intake, a loss of flow of circulated water brought the intake from 40,000 gallons per minute down to 13,000 gallons per minute. “Ice and debris were plugging everything up, and with the cold weather and wind chill things were freezing,” Cowan says.

The operations team at Leland Olds jumped into action. From the main plant to the coal yard, operators ran a claw to clean the ice and debris from the intake and shoveled coal and ice off the intake screens.

men standing near power plant
Rob Benz, Leland Olds turbine electrical operator, Stan Burling, Leland Olds shift supervisor, and Tanner Winckler, Leland Olds lead yard operator. Note the claw in the background that was used to clear debris from the intake.

Leland Olds Lead Yard Operator Tanner Winckler brought in an extended reach excavator to clear away the ice from the stop logs at the intakes. “The impact of the ice made it back into the plant, damaging a debris filter and plugging up the condenser,” Cowan says. “Operations cleaned and remove debris from the debris filters and the mechanical maintenance crew worked to get that functioning again.”

The unit was back online on Feb. 2. “Considering the obstacles that were overcome we still got online that morning,” Cowan says. “It was the hard work of all of the employees on the ground getting the unit going, so that we would be ready for the needs of the members at the end of the line.”

pile of ice
Some of the ice and debris that was removed from the intake.

Intake work
Day shift: Operations - Rob Benz, Kenny Ganske, Darren Gratz, Scott Barbie, and Stan Burling; Coal Yard - Tanner Winckler

Night shift - Dan Olson, Kori Link, Nate Wolski, Willie Kist, and Dustin Bentz

Debris filter clean out work
Day shift: Jake Kleinjan, Bill Wilson, and Tyler Vandervorste

Night shift: Jesse Morrell

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