Corrections Continue at Elwha Water Facilities; Dam Removal Progress Temporarily Postponed
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Contact: Rainey McKenna, 360-565-2985
The National Park Service continues to address issues at the Elwha Water Facilities (EWF) and will postpone the final steps of removing the Elwha River's Glines Canyon Dam while corrections are made by contractors.
The EWF is designed to provide initial treatment of the industrial water supply for the City of Port Angeles, Nippon Paper Industries USA, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's fish rearing channel and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's fish hatchery.The EWF is one of several projects built to mitigate impacts related to dam removal on the Elwha River.
"We are making every effort to meet the water needs of the Elwha's downstream users," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.
Problems associated with the water intake structure at the EWF began last year, when fish screens and pumps became clogged by woody debris and sediment. These issues both decreased the amount of water the treatment plant was able to process and increased the time and effort required to clean and maintain the plant's pumps, filters and clarifiers.
Removal of the remaining 60 feet of Glines Canyon Dam has been on hold since October 2012."Keeping dam removal on temporary hold is part of our continued effort," said Creachbaum. "We are eager to finish dam removal, but our priority at this time is producing enough treated water for the downstream users."
Removal is scheduled to begin again in July.
Postponing downward notching of the dam also postpones release of the projected highest sediment levels into the river, allowing the NPS and contractors to complete corrections to the EWF.A new work schedule for dam removal has not yet been finalized, but the project is scheduled for completion well before the contract ends in September 2014.
The EWTP is designed to deliver 53 million gallons of water daily during high sediment loads of up to 40,000 parts per million total suspended solids (ppm TSS.)To date, maximum sediment loads have reached 10,000 ppm TSS.
Construction of the EWF was completed in 2010 and the plant began operating when dam removal began in September 2011.The Elwha Dam is completely gone; only about 30 percent of the Glines Canyon Dam remains.
Removal of the two Elwha River dams is the largest project of its kind in U.S. history and is part of the landmark Elwha River Restoration project.This project will free the Elwha River and allow all five species of Pacific salmon to return to over 70 miles of habitat.The returning salmon will help restore the river's ecosystem and renew the culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, who have lived along the river since time immemorial.
For more information about this ground-breaking project, including links to project webcams and the Dam Removal Blog, people may visit the Olympic National Park website at http://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/elwha-ecosystem-restoration.htm.