Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for September, 2013

Lake Zumbro Hydro Drawdown Draws Near

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The annual drawdown of Lake Zumbro is scheduled to begin on October 26th. The drawdown is necessary for planned maintenance and shoreline restoration work.  The public should be aware that the drawdown planned for this fall will be substantially greater than normal.  A typical fall drawdown is less than two feet; whereas this year a four foot drawdown will be attempted.  These plans are subject to change depending on rainfall and resulting runoff.  RPU’s drawdown plan is as follows:


·          Saturday, October 26th start the gradual drawdown from summer pool elevation 914.5 and continuing releasing water until a target elevation of 910.5 is achieved.  If the weather cooperates, the target elevation could be reached by Monday, November 4th

·          Maintain the lake level at or about 910.5 from November 4th thru Sunday, November 10th.

·          On Monday, November 11th the lake refilling will begin.  The level would be slowly raised back up to normal winter pool at a rate no more than 0.5 feet per day while maintaining a minimum release of 70 cfs.  We anticipate a minimum of 8 days will be required to raise the lake level to normal winter pool of 93.0 to minimize the impact on downstream resources.



The drawdown plan is subject to change depending on weather conditions.


During the months of November through March, Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) will attempt to maintain the lake level within the winter pool range.


Real-time lake level information, along with Lake Zumbro hydro updates are available on the RPU web site ( For additional information regarding the Zumbro Hydroelectric Facility please contact Tony Benson at (507) 280-1534.



Tips for lake ice safety:


Be extremely careful during winter activities that involve Lake Zumbro such as ice fishing, snowmobiling or just walking out on the frozen lake.

Watch the weather and river flow conditions.

Ice thickness and condition can vary greatly. Be very cautious.

Look out for ice heaves and exposed logs and snags.

Be cautious in the vicinity of the dam. De-icing equipment has been installed along the upstream face of the dam resulting in open water and/or thin ice.

Do not proceed past the warning signs and buoys.


About Rochester Public Utilities


As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 47,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 36,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.





Hydrant Flushing Routes Starting September 9

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Rochester Public Utilities will be flushing fire hydrants in the areas mapped below (within the red area) between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., for approximately two weeks, beginning September 9. Fire hydrants are flushed to remove mineral deposits and sediment from the water mains and to ensure proper operation for fire protection.

During hydrant flushing operations, it is not unusual for customers to experience rusty water, and or pressure changes. Rusty water does not pose a health issue, but may affect the aesthetic quality of the water. Customers are encouraged to check their water for discoloration prior to using hot water or doing laundry, as rusty water may stain clothing. If rusty water is present, customers should flush their household plumbing by opening cold water taps and flushing until clear. Outdoor watering or using exterior hose outlets can also flush customer piping while still using water efficiently.

If you do experience any clothing staining, rust remover is available free of charge and can be delivered to you by calling RPU at 507-280-1500.

RPU may have a check for you!

Friday, September 6th, 2013

It may be from a credit on your account or a rebate check that has not been cashed. These funds must be claimed soon or, by state law, the funds will be paid to the State of Minnesota. To see if you have unclaimed funds with RPU, click here to see the most updated list.

Make sure to have a recent RPU bill available to reference your Business Partner Number.

If you see your Business Partner Number listed, contact RPU at 507.280.1500.