Low Water Causes Power Plant to Power Down

Low Water Causes Power Plant to Power Down
By: Arnold Wyrick
Tower Rock, IL - The mighty Mississippi River isn't looking so mighty these days. The long drought is taking a toll on the river. First it was barge traffic that virtually came to a standstill. Now the Ameren CIPS power plant in Grand Tower, is shutdown due to the dwindling river.
"The rivers been real low. And they haven't been able to get water into the intake. And they've hired a couple of guys to come out there with their bobcats, and track hoes to get water in there," says Rodney Mezo of Grand Tower.
Mezo's father has worked at the plant for the past 30 years. And says this is one of the lowest river levels he's seen during that time. And there's a back up plan in the works to get the plant back up and running.
"They're supposed to be dredging it out here in the next day or so. They're also working on putting a pipe together for that across the levee over there. It's just really low right now," Mezo said.
The problems with the vanishing river aren't limited to the power plant, some farmers are getting their silos empty anticipating more problems with the river.
"If it keeps going down we're going to have a difficult time. Because we don't have enough storage for everything we have in the fields. And if they shut the river down, then I don't know what we'll do," says Jeremy Cobin a truck driver with Funk's Farm in Elkville, Illinois.
Cobin and several other trucks could be seen unloading at Bunge Corporation on Tuesday afternoon. But no barges were pulling up to the company to fill up.
Meanwhile a spokesperson with Ameren CIPS tells Heartland News they've had on and off again problems with drawing in enough water to keep the plant in Grand Tower running since July. But he did stress no customers have suffered due to the plant being shutdown.