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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Contact: Rainey McKenna, 360-565-2985
The National Park Service plans to award a contract within days to make improvements to the Elwha Water Treatment Plant (EWTP.) Work is expected to begin in early February.
The EWTP is one of several mitigation projects built to protect Elwha River water users from impacts associated with high sediment flows related to removing two dams on the Elwha River.
The EWTP provides initial treatment of the industrial water supply for the City of Port Angeles, Nippon Paper Company, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's fish rearing channel and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's fish hatchery.
"It is vitally important that we meet the industrial water needs of Nippon Paper, the Tribe's hatchery, the State's rearing channel and the City of Port Angeles," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum."Active dam removal work is temporarily on hold in order to allow us to meet our commitments to our partners."
Work to continue lowering Glines Canyon Dam has been put on hold until March 31, 2013 to allow the contractor and plant operator Veolia Water time to complete upgrades and repairs to the water treatment plant. 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.
Problems associated with the water intake structure at the EWTP began last fall, when fish screens and pumps became clogged by high concentrations of organic material (leaves, twigs and branches) and sediment. These issues 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.
"We are very grateful to our partners for their cooperation and to the employees of Veolia Water for their skill and diligence in keeping the plant functioning during challenging circumstances," said Creachbaum.
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 EWTP 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