Moves utility one step closer to restoring public access later in year
EPHRATA, Wash.— After nearly 10 months of working around the clock to repair and strengthen Wanapum Dam’s spillway, Grant PUD will soon be able to raise the reservoir behind the dam.
Subject to the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the river level will begin to gradually fill sometime between November 24 and December 11 based on river flows and structural-integrity measurements. When complete, the river will be restored approximately 17 feet above current levels. This partial refill will take between six and 18 days to reach the target elevation. This increased reservoir level will allow fish ladders to resume normal operations and allow the utility greater flexibility in managing hydroelectric generation over the winter months.
While the reservoir increases, shoreline enforcement patrols will remain in effect and the Wanapum shoreline will remain closed. Once engineers, law enforcement and cultural resource workers have determined that it is safe to restore access to the shoreline, the utility will notify the public.
The repairs underway bring the spillway structure back into compression and allow the continued safe generation of renewable hydroelectricity. Repairs to the spillway will continue throughout the winter months. The utility expects to resume normal operations in time for the 2015 recreation season.
To date, 13 steel anchor tendons and four anchor bars have been installed, and 83 monitoring drains have been drilled in the spillway.
The collective contributions of tribes, agencies, upstream hydro operators, consultants and Grant PUD staff have led to this milestone.
“We didn’t ask for this to happen but I believe that we have had the right people on the job,” said Commission President Bob Bernd.
“These results are directly attributed to everyone coming together with a common goal and willingness to get things done. The fact that we are seeing the river level increase less than a year after we found an unprecedented fracture in our spillway is nothing short of incredible.”
For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.
Thomas Stredwick or Chuck Allen
(509) 754-5035 / firstname.lastname@example.org