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Chilhowee Dam Construction


The Re-Fill Has Started

While the weather has given us some setbacks this Spring, we have started the re-fill process at Chilhowee Reservoir. 

In fact, up to this point, we have already brought water levels up 13 feet, and if you’ve driven past the reservoir you would certainly have noticed a significant difference. 

With public safety as our number one priority, we will continue the process of bringing up water levels one foot a day, with an engineering team intensely scrutinizing and monitoring the embankment as levels are raised to ensure it is performing as it should. Once this is determined, we move on to the next day and continue these same measures. 

This will proceed until the water levels are raised back to pre-construction levels, and we determine that all measures have been taken to ensure safety.

We will continue to update you as we get closer and closer to restoring public access at the site. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Brian Noonan at (518) 615-9356. 

About the Chilhowee Hydroelectric Facility

The Chilhowee hydroelectric facility was built by ALCOA, with construction beginning in 1955 and completion coming in 1957. It was built at thate time to provide power for a local aluminum manufacturing center. In 2012, Brookfield Renewable purchased the  Chilhowee facility along with three others in the region Three of these four facilities owned and operated by Brookfield in the Smoky Mountains-Chilhowee, Cheoah and Calderwood- are operated on the Little Tennessee River, while the fourth-Santeetlah-operates on the Cheoah River. 

The Chilhowee facility is capable of producing 52.2 Megawatts (MW) of power. 

Current Construction Project

After investigating seepage, or water exiting from the Chilhowee Dam, Brookfield made the decision to undertake a large scale project in order to ensure public safety and the long-term, continued use of the facility.                                                                                                                                                            

With the understanding that there is tremendous recreational use around the facility, we have been working diligently to complete the project as quickly as possible, while still ensuring that the job is done correctly and in a manner that provides safety for those working on the site.

Once a timeframe for returning the lake to normal operating level is been established, Brookfield Renewable will inform the public.

Boaters and fishermen are encouraged to visit Santeetlah and Calderwood reservoirs.

Chilhowee Construction Chilhowee Construction

Public Safety & Procedures 

Please respect all fencing, signage and safety indications; they are in place to ensure your safety and that of employees and consultants working on the project. We have worked closely with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Wildlife Management Officers and the local county sheriff’s departments to increase patrols at the reservoir to ensure the safety of all. 

The Following Procedures Have Been Established & Are in Place

  • There has been a drawdown of water in order to complete the project.
  • During drawdown all boat launch areas will be closed, and all boating will be prohibited. Additionally, the Pear Tree access area in Monroe County, Tennessee will be closed and camping will be prohibited. The day-use only areas along US Highway 129 will remain open.
  • Walk-in bank fishing is prohibited.
  • Public access to the reservoir is prohibited
As always, thank you in advance for your cooperation. Please contact with any comments or questions. You can also call (518) 615-9356.