National Park Service Awards Contract for the Elwha Water Facilities

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Date: December 12, 2007
Contact: Barb Maynes, Olympic National Park, 360-565-3005
Contact: Cecilia Mitchell, Denver Service Center, 303-969-2825

The National Park Service’s Denver Service Center (DSC) has selected a joint venture of Watts Constructors LLC and DelHur Industries (Watts/DelHur, A Joint Venture) as the prime contractor to construct the Elwha Water Facilities near the City of Port Angeles, Washington.

DelHur Industries is based in Port Angeles, Washington and Watts Constructors LLC has offices in California, Washington and Hawaii. The home office for Watts/DelHur, A Joint Venture is in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Once the two Elwha River dams (Elwha and Glines Canyon dams) are removed, sediment trapped behind the dams will be carried downriver. The Elwha Water Facilities are designed to remove this sediment from the water supply for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe fish hatchery, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish rearing channel and for Port Angeles municipal and industrial water users. The majority of the sediment transport will occur in the first few years following the dam removal. The treatment plant will operate only during high sediment periods.

“Today’s announcement marks another exciting and critical step forward in Elwha River Restoration, culminating years of planning, design and close collaboration with many partners including the state of Washington, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the City of Port Angeles,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “With construction of these projects set to begin early in 2008, we will begin the new year knowing that the salmon and ecosystem of the Elwha River are closer than ever to restoration.”

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 Elwha Water Facilities will include several component projects, including the Elwha Surface Water Intake, the Elwha Water Treatment Plant, improvements to the Crown “Z” Water Road, and Area Flood Protection. The water treatment plant will maintain existing turbidity levels by removing sediment during and after removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. The Crown “Z” Water Road will be improved for construction access. Area Flood Protection will maintain protection for the new and existing facilities in the area, including the Crown “Z” Water Road, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish rearing channel and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s fish hatchery.

“This is a very exciting moment for Elwha Restoration and I am especially pleased to see a local Port Angeles-based contractor selected for this project,” said Laitner.

The contract award and cost of the new water facilities is $69,649,900. The National Park Service expects to issue a Notice to Proceed to Watts/DelHur, A Joint Venture by early February. The contractor will then have three years to complete the project. That time may be adjusted based on any changes that may be required during construction.

The Elwha Water Facilities project was designed by the Seattle, Denver, and Portland offices of URS Corporation. Construction management services are currently being reviewed and are expected to be awarded by late January.

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 passage 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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