Great Lakes Steel

Smith-Root designed an electrical deterrent system to prevent fish from entering a cooling water intake canal.
  • Location: Ecorse, Michigan
  • Commissioned: 1993
  • Type: Industrial Scale Intake or Tailrace

Project description

U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works is a steelmaking and finishing plant complex located on the Detroit River in Ecorse, Michigan. The steel plant draws cooling water from the Detroit River, and experienced problems with schools of gizzard shad moving becoming impinged on the screens. In 1993, Smith-Root designed and constructed an electric fish deterrent system at the entrance of the water intake canal. Concentric electrodes embedded into a concrete apron created an electrical field to deter downstream migration of fish. Smith-Root inspected and maintained the barrier annually up until 2003, when the steel plant was shut down.

After the plant resumed operation under the new ownership of US Steel in 2005, a physical barrier comprising interlocking sheet and round piles was constructed around the intake to prevent floating ice and debris from entering the intake. The ice and debris barrier improved system performance and enhanced the effectiveness of the electrical deterrent system to guide fish away from the water intake canal.

Services provided

  • Civil and structural design of barriers
  • Electrical and electronic design of the pulsators and power supply systems
  • Construction of the barrier
  • Supply of electronics
  • Regular inspection and maintenance

Site characteristics

  • Pulsators: 1.5kVA POW
  • Pulsator Qty: 3
  • Power Output: 4.5kW max.
  • Water Depth: 4 feet
  • Waterway Width: 30 feet
  • Water Velocity: 1.5 ft./s
  • Conductivity: 300 µs/cm max.