Grant County Public Utility District’s Board of Commissioners was presented
this week with a preliminary estimate of potential costs associated with
repairs to the structural fracture discovered at Wanapum Dam’s spillway –
approximately $61 million including power sale impacts, repairs to the
structure and the remodeling of fish ladders and related expenditures.
costs include an estimated $15 million to assure passage for migrating salmon
and other fish, protect cultural and other resources bared by a drawdown of the
dam’s reservoir and to investigate causes and cures for a 65-foot-long fracture
discovered in a supporting pier between two of the facility’s spillbays.
cost estimates include $38 million for the repair of the fracture, and an $8
million negative impact on the PUD’s power sales resulting from forces changes
in operations because of a drawdown of as much as 26 feet from normal reservoir
elevations to reduce pressure on the damaged concrete structure.
PUD spokesman Chuck Allen stressed that the cost estimates presented Tuesday to
the Grant PUD Commission are “conservative.”
is still ongoing to evaluate the damage, and develop a plan for repairing the
project, located in central Washington on the mid-Columbia River. The estimate
is based on information presently available and may vary depending on results
from the analysis into the cause of the fracture and the investigation of the
fracture’s geometry, as well as how soon repairs can be completed.
utility is evaluating how it will use a combination of reserve funds, debt
financing and expense reductions to cover the cost of restoring the Wanapum Dam
spillway. Staff continues to work with its insurers to explore potential
insurance coverage as well.
PUD plans to maintain the current 2 percent rate trajectory adopted by
commissioners last December and will consider rate increases as a last resort.
Maintaining a strong financial position to ensure long-term low rates for
customers continues to be a priority.
drilling into the spillway has resumed. Grant PUD’s engineering team and the
independent board of consultants assembled for the project determined that
construction of a platform was no longer required to finish the necessary
drilling, which will help determine the geometry of the fracture and will also
aid in the repair process.
will now resume from a corridor under the dam’s spillway known as the grout
gallery. Once the drilling and the root-cause analysis are finished, Grant PUD
will begin making repairs to the spillway. The reservoir level will not be
raised to its normal minimum of 562 feet above sea level until the repairs are
the reservoir is raised, Grant PUD will continue to rely on modifications to
the Wanapum Dam fish ladders for adult fish passage. As of April 21, 188 adult
steelhead and 16 spring chinook salmon have been counted safely passing the
left bank fish ladder.
adult chinook salmon and steelhead have also been observed traveling from
Priest Rapids Dam, then navigating Wanapum Dam’s modified fish ladder, and
eventually reaching Rock Island Dam in less than five days. Rock Island, owned
by Chelan PUD, is about 36 river miles upstream of Wanapum.
to the dam’s right bank ladder are expected to be finished at the end of April.
The utility is also working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
to trap adult spring chinook salmon and steelhead at Priest Rapids Dam and
truck them past Wanapum Dam until the fish ladder modifications are proven
under working conditions.
Wanapum reservoir shoreline is closed to the public and will stay closed until
the reservoir is raised to minimum normal operating levels, likely beyond July
4. All Grant PUD and WDFW shoreline access points are closed, including boat
launches and recreation areas. The closure is necessary to protect sensitive
cultural areas and for public safety.
utility has reopened the Wanapum Lower Boat Launch and day-use park near
Wanapum Dam. The Wanapum Heritage Center remains closed, however.
the low-reservoir condition, Grant PUD is accelerating scheduled work on
Wanapum reservoir boat launches to reduce environmental impacts and expenses.
Work began on the Kittitas County Boat Launch on April 21 and work is scheduled
for the Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch.
Dam continues to generate electricity at about 50 to 60 percent of its current
capacity and is passing spring runoff flows in coordination with other dam
operators on the river.
additional information, visit:
to a press release provided this week by Chelan PUD, fish counts at its Rock
Island Dam so far are “normal” for this time of year.
salmon and steelhead on their way to the ocean will have safe passage as in
previous years through the use of dedicated spill for the duration of the
outmigration, Chelan PUD says.
collaboration and cooperation from the Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau
of Reclamation, Corps of Engineers, and other Mid-Columbia utilities, the
Columbia River will be managed to ensure a consistent river flow of 45,000
cubic feet per second. The consistent river flow and river level is intended to
provide for fish, irrigators, recreation and power operations.
markets power generated at federal dams on the Columbia and Snake. The Bureau
and Corps own and operate most of those dams. Much of the water storage needed
to maintain those flows is provided by the Bureau’s Grand Coulee Dam, located
about 140 river miles upstream from Rock Island,
of the uncertainty around what response will be needed to address the situation
at Wanapum Dam, we can't guarantee river levels,” the Chelan PUD press release
CBB, April 18, 2014, “Extended Fish Ladders, Trap/Haul: ESA-Listed Spring
Chinook Moving Upstream Of Cracked Wanapum Dam” http://www.cbbulletin.com/430460.aspx
CBB, April 11, 2014, “Wanapum Dam: Tribes Urge Feds To Be ‘Proactive’ In
Requiring Monitoring, Evaluation Of Fish Passage” http://www.cbbulletin.com/430361.aspx
CBB, April 4, 2014, “Fish Passage Fixes At Wanapum Dam To Be Completed April
15; Trap/Truck First Weeks Of Spring Run” http://www.cbbulletin.com/430262.aspx
CBB, March 14, 2014, “Wanapum Dam Crack: With Spring Chinook On the Way
Upstream Fish Passage High Priority” http://www.cbbulletin.com/430013.aspx
CBB, March 7, 2014, “Crack In Wanapum Dam:Reservoir Drawn Down 26 Feet,
Officials Assess Options, Fish Passage Strategies” http://www.cbbulletin.com/429942.aspx