"Although area businesses have not been physically damaged and are fully functioning and open for business, we realize they may face potential losses due to public perception following news coverage of the reservoir failure," says Mike Menne, Ameren vice president, Environmental Safety and Health. "We are working closely with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to restore the Johnson's Shut-Ins. The Taum Sauk Plant's lower reservoir waters released earlier this week were clear as a result of a Jan. 25-27 application of alums and a buffering agent. This release helped to scour some of the muddy sediments of the East Fork of the Black River and was a major step toward clearing the muddy appearance of the lower reservoir and water releases into the East Fork. We are very encouraged by the results of this initiative."
As a result of the business group's suggestions, AmerenUE Claims personnel have set up a local office in Wilderness Lodge, Peola Road, Lesterville, Mo., (phone 888-969-9129). Anyone needing to schedule an appointment about business damages related to the Taum Sauk Plant failure and resulting flooding can call 1-800-781-2075 to make an appointment. The office will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Representing those Annapolis and Lesterville firms downstream of the reservoir most immediately affected by muddy water in the East Fork were Bearcat Getaway, Black River Lodge, Cedar Valley Lodge, Deeter's Canoes Rental, Franklin Floats and Wilderness Lodge.
In response to questions raised at a recent AmerenUE town hall meeting, AmerenUE set up the Jan. 30 meeting with the local business leaders. At that meeting, AmerenUE pledged to launch an aggressive advertising campaign in coming days to promote the area as the restoration of Johnson's Shut-Ins progresses and clear water from the lower reservoir improves conditions in the East Fork of the Black River.
"Ameren is concerned about the community in and around the plant and wants to be as responsive as possible to their needs," says Ameren Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Rainwater. "We are grateful to this group of concerned business leaders who have helped us move toward accomplishing that goal."
On Dec. 14 the AmerenUE Taum Sauk Plant experienced a breach in the upper reservoir that caused flooding in the Johnson's Shut-Ins and resulted in the closing of one road. The plant's 1.5-billion-gallon upper reservoir experienced a rupture in the northwest corner causing water to flow downward. The company implemented its emergency plan and assembled a multi-disciplinary team of experts, company officials and consultants to analyze the event and determine next steps.
Built in 1963, AmerenUE's Taum Sauk is a "pumped-storage" hydroelectric plant. It stores water from the Black River in the upper reservoir, built atop 1,590- foot-high Proffit Mountain, and releases the water to generate electricity when power is needed. The plant employs 12. The water flows down a mile-long tunnel inside the mountain, turning turbine-generators to produce electricity. When power demand is low, the same turbines run in reverse to pump water back to the upper reservoir.
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.3 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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