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St. Stephen Dam Fishlift and Powerhouse

St. Stephen, South Carolina

Market Sector



Civil Works

Services Provided

Mechanical and Electrical Engineering/ESD, Environmental, Program Management, Design, Construction Management, Code Services



T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) provided design, civil and environmental engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, project management, and other support services to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, for the repair of the fish lift and hydropower plant facilities at the St. Stephen Dam and Powerhouse in South Carolina. The goal of the major renovation program was to enhance fish passage and improve operations, electrical, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system performance.

Unique to South Carolina and the southeast United States, the fish lift at St. Stephen Dam allows the annual passage of approximately 750,000 anadromous fish as they swim upstream to spawn, helping to increase populations of migratory fish used for regional recreation and commercial purposes.

TYLI provided the design for the replacement of the fish lift hydraulic system, as well as the programmable logic control system used to control its sequencing and operation. Upgrades were also made to gates and stop logs within the fish lift facility.

For the St. Stephen Powerhouse, which supplies energy to approximately 40,000 homes in the community, TYLI designed the replacement of cooling water piping for the three hydropower generating units. Also part of the design were upgrades to the entire existing HVAC and associated electrical power distribution systems at the hydropower plant facility, as well as the repair and cathodic protection design of the headgates.

Project Highlights:

  • In addition to upgrading critical electrical and HVAC system components for the fish lift, TYLI also designed new safety features and developed the facility’s 25-year annual maintenance plan.
  • TYLI engineers developed a spill prevention and response plan and conducted a hazardous materials survey for both the fish lift and hydropower plant facilities.
  • A biological efficacy and structural design study was provided for a sturgeon deflector that could be used to divert endangered Atlantic sturgeon safely around the fish lift.
  • As a value-added service, TYLI produced educational and facility history videos that include 3D animation of the fish lift and the adjoining powerhouse dam. The videos enhance the visitors’ experience and are used for promotional purposes.