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NR 23-30: Wolf Creek Dam oxygen diffuser project contract awarded

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Aug. 17, 2023
Picture of diffuser system

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is executing a sustainability project funded by the Section 212 Program to install an upstream diffuser system at Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River in Jamestown, Kentucky. Polyethylene piping installation has begun in support of this construction project. (USACE Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 17, 2023) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces a base contract award to Brasfield & Gorrie, L.L.C., of $16.8M for the Dissolved Oxygen facility.  This is a sustainability project funded by the Section 212 Program to install an upstream diffuser system at Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River in Jamestown, Kentucky.

The district is partnering with power preference customers, the Southeastern Power Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority to construct a cryogenic facility downstream of the dam and install 50,000 linear feet of oxygen diffuser lines that reach into Lake Cumberland.

When constructed, the cryogenic facility will be capable of converting 300 tons of liquid oxygen per day to gaseous oxygen through four 15,000-gallon tanks and eight vaporizers. Daily deliveries of liquid oxygen will be required during the low dissolved-oxygen season for operation. Onsite construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in 2024 after fabrication of the liquid oxygen tanks has started.

Installation of polyethylene piping has begun. TVA has mobilized to the site to begin assembling the diffuser lines. Construction is underway downstream of the dam and then the lines will be trenched under Highway 127 and through Halcomb’s Landing in late fall after the peak recreation season. Lines will then be installed in the forebay.  The system is similar to those TVA operates at Norris Dam and Watts Bar Dam and is scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2025. Highway 127 and Halcomb’s Landing will remain open or partially open throughout the construction period.

“The award of this contract will improve generation at Wolf Creek Power Plant by mitigating the need to sluice water during the late summer/ fall low dissolved oxygen season,” said Chris Stoltz, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District. “Without this system, power production can be limited to 30% of its design capability throughout the season. The Project Delivery Team is excited to begin this phase of the project and continue supporting the region with reliable and renewable electricity.”

Installation of an upstream diffuser system, in conjunction with auto-venting turbine runners, reduce or eliminate unit restrictions during the low dissolved oxygen season. When these capabilities are achieved, the Nashville District can provide more environmentally friendly releases while maximizing hydropower generation.

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at The public can also follow Lake Cumberland on Facebook at

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Bill Peoples

Release no. 23-027

Chick Lock

Through deeds, not words, we are BUILDING STRONG®