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Feasibility Study Assessed Liberia Hydroelectric Dam

During the 1960s, Stanley Consultants was selected by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) as the design engineer for the new Mount Coffee 64 MW hydropower project on the St. Paul River in Liberia, West Africa.  Upon completion, it was named the Walter F. Walker Hydro Dam and contained four vertical hydroelectric generating units, 3 earth-filled dam sections, 10 flood control gates, and a 69 kV substation and transmission line.  This facility became the country's largest source of electricity.

This facility operated successfully until 1990 when the National Patriotic Front of Liberia took control of the project site during the First Liberian Civil War and did not permit LEC to open the tainter gates during high water events.  Eventually, the earth-filled dam was overtopped and destroyed.  Since then, the powerhouse has been vandalized, looted and all mechanical and electrical systems have been destroyed, leaving only the concrete substructure, superstructure and steel penstocks.

In 2007, Stanley Consultants was again retained by LEC to determine the feasibility of restoring the facility and to research the project's potential environmental and socioeconomic benefits.

A damage assessment study and field observations were performed on the dam in the areas of civil, geotechnical, hydro-mechanical, and electrical engineering.  After the investigations, a comprehensive report outlined rehabilitation requirements and the engineering work required to restore the plant.

In addition, the assessment examined upgrading the current turbine capacity to increase power production, raising the dam crest elevation, and changing the country's standard to 50 Hz from the current 60 Hz, allowing Liberia to operate on a frequency standard throughout Africa.

Stanley Consultants is currently working with the Government of Liberia, LEC, The World Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, to make the rehabilitation of Mount Coffee Hydropower project a reality.