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Contact: Barb Maynes -- NPS, 360-565-3005
Contact: Linda Gunderson -- City of Port Angeles, 360-417-4800
A historic agreement was signed last night between the City of Port Angeles and the National Park Service, after the Port Angeles City Council voted to accept ownership of a new federally-funded water treatment plant after its completion in 2009.
“The City and National Park Service have met another milestone working cooperatively for the removal of the Elwha Dams,” said City of Port Angeles Mayor Gary Braun. “The partnership and cooperation between the two organizations is ensuring that water facilities to protect the City's water supply remain on track.”
“We are grateful and very pleased to have reached this important agreement with the City of Port Angeles,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. “Elwha restoration can only happen through strong partnerships and collaboration.”
Construction of the new Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant (PAWTP) began December 2007 and is scheduled for completion in late 2009.
Once removal of the two dams on the Elwha River begins, sediments trapped behind the dams will be carried downstream, impacting the clarity of the Port Angeles drinking water supply. As stipulated in the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992, water quality protection measures for Elwha water users, including the City, must be completed and operational before dam removal can begin.
The new PAWTP, along with other water quality protection projects, will protect water users from the increased sediment load. The new PAWTP, along with other water quality protection projects, will protect the water supply for the City’s residential, commercial, and industrial water users.
The new PAWTP will provide water for Port Angeles that meets State of Washington drinking water standards before, during and after removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. The new treatment plant is being constructed by the National Park Service at a cost of $24,482,750. The new facility is designed to provide up to 10.6 million gallons of treated water daily to the City’s water distribution system. The City will take ownership of the PAWTP after its completion, even though dam removal is not slated to begin until 2012.
The water treatment plant project is being constructed by Watts-Korsmo AJV of Gig Harbor and was designed by the Seattle, Denver, and Portland offices of URS Corporation.
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, currently scheduled for 2012.