TVA Denies It Had Excessive Flow At Ocoee At Time Of 2 Whitewater Rafting Deaths

Monday, August 26, 2013

TVA officials have denied that water flow was excessive on the Ocoee River on Saturday morning and Sunday morning when there were separate rafting deaths.

TVA officials said, "Providing for recreational opportunities on TVA-managed lands and waters is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s environmental stewardship responsibilities and mission, and we encourage this use of our many rivers and lakes. Over the weekend, two separate and tragic accidents occurred on the Ocoee River in Southeast Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of two rafters. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.


"TVA uses the water of the Ocoee River to generate electricity at three hydroelectric stations in Tennessee ? Ocoee Dams Nos. 1, 2 and 3. TVA carefully manages the flow of water through these facilities for multiple objectives ? to maintain water quality, water supply, hydroelectric power and current for whitewater enthusiasts on the river.

"Initial media reports over the weekend misreported the river flow rate at the time of the accident on Saturday, Aug. 24, as exceeding the 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) level for suspending commercial whitewater operation on the middle section of the Ocoee. This section is between Ocoee Dam No. 2 and the Ocoee No. 2 powerhouse, which is 5 miles downstream. Some water is diverted at Dam No. 2 to bypass the river and travel down a manmade channel or flume to the No. 2 powerhouse.

  • Under agreement, TVA notifies the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation when the flow rate exceeds 3,000 cubic feet per second, and TDEC suspends rafting.

  • On Saturday, around the time of the incident, the flow rate on the middle section of the Ocoee was approximately 2,300-2,600 cubic feet per second.

  • On Sunday, around the time of the second incident, the flow rate on the middle section of the Ocoee was approximately 2,200 – 2,500 cubic feet per second.

  • TVA uses real-time monitoring equipment that measures water elevations and calculates flow rates going over the top of the Ocoee No. 2 Dam that supplies water for rafting.

  • Information on TVA’s website about Ocoee Dam No. 2 is a combination of river flows at the Ocoee No. 2 dam and the volume of water diverted by the Ocoee Flume, which bypasses the middle section of the river where recreational rafting is held.

  • TVA is reviewing the river condition data it recorded in real time over the weekend and will provide that information to assist any agencies investigating the tragic incidents. TVA is not conducting an investigation, as water releases and notifications were within TVA’s established policies.

“Water on the Ocoee River is carefully controlled to meet the benefits of recreation, water quality, water supply and power generation,” said John McCormick, senior vice president River Operations and Renewables. “We want everyone to enjoy the excellent recreational opportunities all across the Tennessee Valley and rafting on the nationally recognized Ocoee River can be a thrilling adventure. However this is a difficult reminder that this and other water activities carry some risk."

Cleveland Growing Through Voluntary Annexation

The city of Cleveland is growing because of requests from property owners who have asked to be annexed. At the city council meeting on Monday, public hearings were held regarding annexing of two properties totaling about 27 acres, and rezoning it for residential use. Two other properties, already in the city limits were also rezoned to residential.   The council ... (click for more)

John Wilson To Autograph New Hiener Photo Book Of Historic Chattanooga On Tuesday At Zarzour's

John Wilson, publisher of, will autograph the new historic photo book being published by on Tuesday at Zarzour's Restaurant from noon until 2 p.m. Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga Photos features a wide range of interesting old Chattanooga pictures ranging from the Civil War to local personalities. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Testerman Forum

I badly misjudged how long it would take me to do my “early voting.” I was in-and-out in no time so I got to the Hamilton County School Board’s agenda meeting well enough beforehand to have an “educational forum” with board member David Testerman. If you haven’t noticed, forums and summits and “community enlightenment” groups are the new rage and, as my friend David laughed, “They ... (click for more)

After Productive Open Week, Vols Eye Gamecocks

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, Josh Malone, Colton Jumper, Ethan Wolf and Emmanuel Moseley spoke to reporters at a weekly press conference. No. 18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off of its bye week and next face South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 p.m. ET broadcast on ESPN2. ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)