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City and Park Officials Confer on Elwha Water Facilities

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Date: May 3, 2013
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005

Joint News Release
C
ity of Port Angeles and Olympic National Park

Officials from the City of Port Angeles and Olympic National Park met yesterday at Port Angeles City Hall to discuss and share concerns about ongoing issues of the quality and quantity of treated water at the Elwha Water Facilities (EWF).

Port Angeles City Manager Dan McKeen and Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum led the two-hour discussion, assisted by engineering, legal, and other key employees.

The 2004 Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the City of Port Angeles, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the National Park Service, calls for consultation on key operational and maintenance decisions regarding the EWF and other project-related facilities.

The EWF includes both the Elwha Water Treatment Plant (EWTP) and the Elwha Surface Water Intake (ESWI).  The EWF 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.The intent was for the Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant (PAWTP) to accept water from the EWF and the City's Ranney Well during dam removal.The EWF functioned as intended until late last year.

aterial that was intended to be screened out by the water intake structure began moving further into the system, clogging pumps, filters and other equipment inside the treatment plant itself.Sediment, gravel, and large and small woody debris that was not intended to enter the treatment plant decreased the amount of water the treatment plant is able to process and increased the time and effort required to clean and maintain it.

In February, the NPS awarded Macnak Construction, LLC of Lakewood, Washington a $1.4 million contract to make upgrades to a backup pump station intake at the water treatment plant. These upgrades included installation of six self-cleaning fish screens and were expected to be operational by early April.

However, additional inspections and engineering analysis revealed that other components of the backup pump station also needed correction, so installation of the remaining screens was put on hold until this additional work is completed.The National Park Service's plan to improve the pump station's piping and pumps to adequately handle high sediment loads was discussed at yesterday's meeting.Design of these improvements is still in preliminary stages.Further information will be released as plans are finalized.

One focus of the meeting centered on returning the EWF to full function, providing adequate treated water to the City and other downstream users.Other discussion topics yesterday included concerns arising out of a recent Washington Department of Health (DOH) visit, sedimentation accumulation at Elwha River side-channel leading to the Ranney Well, and the dam removal and EWF modifications schedules.

"We are committed to working collaboratively and in good faith with the City and are looking forward to continuing discussions and consultation between us," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

"The meeting was very positive.The City is pleased with the NPS commitment to move forward with implementing solutions that will permit the EWF to operate as intended," said City Manager Dan McKeen.

On a related note, Olympic National Park staff will make a presentation about sediment to the City Council on May 7 to share updated information gathered through ongoing sediment monitoring by NPS and Bureau of Reclamation staff.

The National Parks Service is planning a government-to-government meeting in the near future between the National Park Service and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Did You Know?

white flower

Does this flower look familiar? The bunchberry, a common groundcover of Olympic's lowland forest, is closely related to the dogwood trees found throughout North America.