Ball Plug
Buffalo Bill Dam just west of Cody


This large wood and concrete ball plug was one of two used to halt the flow of water through the 42-inch-diameter power outlet works conduits, located in the base of the dam. The balls facilitated the repair and maintenance of downstream machinery and equipment. In order to access the submerged conduit openings on the upstream face of the dam, trash rack structures first had to be removed by divers and raised to the surface by a cableway winch. Then, assisted by divers, the ball plugs were lowered by the cableway winch into position, where water pressure forced the balls against the conduit openings, sealing off the flow of water. The construction of the ball plugs utilizing a combination of wood and concrete provided strength and also allowed easy maneuverability under water.

Two new ball plugs were obtained during the Buffalo Bill Dam modifications project (1985-1993), since the removal of the cableway winch in 1985, the installation of the new ball plugs must be accomplished using a barge mounted crane on the reservoir.

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