Prior to the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams’ removal, two water treatment facilities were constructed to protect the city of Port Angeles’ municipal and industrial water supplies during and after dam removal. A new surface water diversion and intake structure were also constructed, replacing the old design with a new, fish-friendly system, along with road improvements and area flood protection. The treatment plants primarily protected water users from sediments that had accumulated in the Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell reservoirs for decades following dam construction. The facilities continue to take in surface water for treatment and provide clean water for municipal, industrial and hatchery needs.
Construction of the Elwha Water Facilities cost $79 million and created 149 jobs for Washington-based companies. Construction began in February 2008 and was completed ten months ahead of schedule in April 2010. The Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant began providing clean water to residents of Port Angeles in February 2010.
Mechanics of Dam Removal
On September 17, 2011, the beginning of dam removal was celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, as well as numerous dignitaries and approximately 400 guests. Removal work on the Glines Canyon Dam began September 15, 2011 and on the Elwha Dam on September 19, 2011. Varying demolition methods were required at the two dam sites given their unique structural requirements.
Removal of Glines Canyon Dam:
Interactive Earth rendering of Glines Canyon Dam removal process.
Removal of Elwha Dam:
Interactive Earth rendering of the Elwha Dam removal process.
Popular Mechanics article on the removal of Elwha Dam, from 2006.
Popular Mechanics diagram showing proposed removal process.
Former Elwha Dam Site Restoration
Elwha Dam removal work on October 20, 2011. NPS Photo
Former Elwha Dam site on May 1, 2012. NPS Photo
This webpage was made possible in part by a grant from Washington’s National Park Fund.
Last updated: September 9, 2019