Public Invited to Attend Groundbreaking for New Water Treatment Plant, Major Step Forward in Elwha Restoration

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Date: September 12, 2007
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005

A vital step towards restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem will be made this Friday when key officials break ground for a new water treatment plant to protect the Port Angeles municipal water supply during removal of two dams on the Elwha River.

Scheduled to take part are U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, Port Angeles Mayor Karen Rogers, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles and Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner, along with other key officials.

“We invite the public to join us for a very exciting moment in Elwha restoration,” said Laitner. “Construction of this water treatment plant brings us an essential step closer to dam removal and restoration of the Elwha River and its legendary salmon runs.”

The ground breaking will be held on Friday, September 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the new water treatment plant site, within the Regional Transfer Station (formerly Port Angeles Landfill) at 3501 West 18th Street in Port Angeles.  A map and directions to the Regional Transfer Station are available at the City of Port Angeles website.

Watts/Korsmo A JV (a joint venture of Watts Constructors LLC and John Korsmo Company) was recently selected as the prime contractor to construct the Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant. The new plant will protect the Port Angeles municipal water supply during and after removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams.

As stipulated in the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992, water quality protection measures for the City of Port Angeles and Elwha water users must be completed and in place before dam removal can begin.

The National Park Service expects to issue a Notice to Proceed to Watts/Korsmo A JV within the next month.  The contractor will then have two years to complete the project, with adjustments possible, based on any changes that may be required during construction. 

In preparation for another Elwha –related contract, a Request for Proposals was issued late last week for construction of the Elwha Water Facilities (EWF), including the Elwha Surface Water Intake, the Elwha Water Treatment Plant, upgrades to the Crown “Z” Water Road for construction access, and area Flood Protection, all under a second contract.  The estimated range of construction for EWF is $50 to $70 million. 

The Elwha River is the largest watershed on the Olympic Peninsula and was once one of the most productive salmon streams in the Pacific Northwest, home to all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as other fish species.  Two dams, constructed in the early 1900s, now block fish from all but the lower five miles of the river.  Removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dam will restore the Elwha to its natural, free-flowing condition and will once again allow fish access to over 70 river miles of habitat now protected within Olympic National Park.  Dam removal will begin after the water quality protection facilities are complete.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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