Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Fun With Dick and Jeff" (a.k.a. "Damn Good Fun")

Hello Folks,

This past Monday, Jeff (Tracker_Jet_120/Chargd) and I toured the Safe Harbor Power Plant. Our tour guide was a retired employee, Dick. Sorry I have no pics because we weren't allowed cell phones and cameras in the plant... Security reasons.

When we arrived at the guard shack, we told the two female guards that we often fished that section of the river. The one guard asked me if I run hard up to the buoys and the shut down. I told her that I will run to the buoys and across the front of them to the fish ladder... the she knew who I was! LOL

We met Dick around 10:00 a.m. and headed into the plant. Our first stop was in a room filled with a pictorial history of the power plant and the surrounding location. What a great selection of photos, including some from the early 1900's. I especially enjoyed this stop because of the history involved.

The power plant has been installing new generators built by a Canadian firm. They were still working on the one unit. It was really educational seeing the inside of one of these big electricity producing units.

The new units utilize a fixed style blade that has a different pitch. The older blades were actually capable of being adjusted through a hydraulic system... Cool.

The 1938 equipment was built solid and incorporated steel into the metal works. The new blades, for example, are brass.

While fishing just below the plant, we often hear noises and bells ringing. We were taught that when the large cranes move inside, the one series of bells ring. The rumbling is the sound produced by the huge cranes.

I often hear the name "Mike Brenner" being paged over their intercom. Well, I actually met Mike on the tour. He is in charge of the mechanical maintenance of the plant... "Mike Brenner, Mike Brenner, please call ______." :)

Dick took us on a walk to view the large flood gates and explained how they operate. There was a a lot of outside contractor work going on in and around the plant.

I asked Dick just how many full-time employees work in the plant. He explained to us that there were approximately 75 employees around the clock and that also included the custodial staff. With a plant so large, I expected a few more employees.

We didn't actually get to see the control room, but we saw updated pictures. Dick told us that the last picture taken was actually outdated since they have improved the room once more.

The power plant has been going through buy outs. PPL has just sold out and the only plant that they own outright on the river is the Holtwood Power Plant... interesting!

At the end of the guided tour, we said our goodbyes and thank yous to Dick. We then waited to meet a friend of mind, Dave Shreck (Skunkmaster. Dave has been working at the plant as an engineer for several years. He stopped by the guard shack and we caught up on fishing and stuff. He has offered to take us next year to see the fish ladder in action... Cool Beans! I can't wait to see that.

Take care and stay safe!