MAZEPPA, Minn. (KTTC) – The Lake Zumbro Hydroelectric Plant, better known as the Lake Zumbro Dam, will open to the public this Friday and Saturday to celebrate the dam’s 100th anniversary.
It’s the first time in nearly a century that people will get to take an inside look. Tours run from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) has owned and operated the site since construction started in 1917 and ended in 1919. The Lake Zumbro Dam was even listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 for its feats in engineering.
According to RPU, the dam is inspected annually by licensed professional engineers to help identify needed repairs. RPU staff, on the other hand, inspect the dam on a weekly basis.
When you take a tour you’ll see the power house where the dam’s two turbines are housed. The turbines use water to create electricity. If you go down a level you’ll enter the basement. There, you can see the underside of the two turbines and watch the water move through them. According to RPU, the turbines generate about 12.5 thousand megawatt hours per years, which is enough energy to power 1,500 homes.
The tour ends at the top of the dam with a view of the 440-foot long spillway. Right now the water is low enough to where you can see the top of the dam.