Cradled in Virginia's rugged Allegheny Mountains, the world's most powerful pumped storage generating station quietly balances the electricity needs of millions of homes and businesses across six states.
The Bath County Pumped Storage Station, which went into operation in 1985, is jointly owned by Dominion and the operating companies of the Allegheny Power System, and managed by Dominion Generation. This mammoth station was cited as one of the nation's most outstanding 1985 engineering achievements. The earth and rock fill moved to construct the dams and other project facilities, if piled up, would create a mountain 1,000 feet (305 meters) high. Enough concrete was poured to build 200 miles (322 kilometers) of interstate highway.
The station consists of two large reservoirs — one 1,262 feet (385 meters) higher than the other, a massive power house and the huge tunnels that connect them. When demand is low, water is pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper one.
When demand is high, valves permit water to run through the tunnels to the lower reservoir at a rate as high as 13.5 million gallons (852 cubic meters/second) per minute, turning six turbine generators.
The water level in the 265-acre upper reservoir can fluctuate as much as 106 feet when the unit is operated.
The Bath County Pumped Storage Station is nearly surrounded by the George Washington National Forest and was built in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.
Occupying a relatively small amount of land, it has had minimal adverse effect on the environment.
Flows to both streams, Back Creek and Little Back Creek, are supplemented by storage from the station reservoirs. This significantly improves stream flow during periods of drought and enhances the environment for fish and other aquatic life.
The extreme fluctuations in water levels in the two reservoirs make them unsuitable for recreation. However, a separate 325-acre (1.32 sq. kilometers) public Recreation Area containing two lakes is located just downstream from the lower dam. The area has facilities for fishing, non-power boating, picnicking, swimming, hiking and camping. Additional details are provided below.
Net Generating Capacity: 3,003 megawatts
License Issued: January, 1977
Commercial Operation: December, 1985
Owners: Dominion (60%), Allegheny Power System (40%)
Lower Reservoir Dam:
Upper Reservoir Dam:
Water Flow - Pumping: 12.7 million gallons (801 cubic meters/second) per minute
Water Flow - Generating: 13.5 million gallons (852 cubic meters/second) per minute
Turbine Generators: Six Francis-type 500-megawatt units manufactured by Allis Chalmers
Maximum Pumping Power (per unit): 642,800 horsepower (479,300 kilowatts)
Thank you for your interest in the Bath County Pumped Storage Station Recreation Area. Dominion Generation and Allegheny Energy jointly own the Recreation Area, and it is operated by Dominion Generation. The FERC License Number is 2716. The Recreation Area is open to all members of the public without discrimination. We hope you enjoy your visit and will return.
Season and Operating Hours
Day Use Fees:
Recreation Area General Information
Beach, Ponds and Bath House
Emergencies and Security
Dominion Generation reserves the right to revoke camping and daytime use permits. In the event of such revocation, unused fees will be refunded.
Your comments are welcome and may be sent to:
Recreation Area Manager
Dominion Generation BCPSS
316 Power Station Road
Warm Springs, VA 24484
Dominion Virginia Power opened the Bath County Power Station Recreational Ponds, near Back Creek, in 1989. There are two ponds (27 and 45 acres).