Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wanapum Dam Fix Could Total $61 Million, Says Grant County PUD

Grant County PUD

The cost fixing the cracked Wanapum Dam will total $61 million, according to Grant County PUD officials.

About one-third of the cost is the result of the investigation into the crack, the guarding of the river and the loss of power production. The rest will cover the fix itself.

Thomas Stredwick with Grant County PUD says his agency should be able to absorb the financial hit by using some of its savings and taking out loans.

“Rate increases are a tool that we’re going to use essentially as a last result,” he said.

Preliminary studies show that the concrete makeup of Wanapum is still strong. That leaves investigators looking at the construction and the design of the dam.

So far, the plan for fixing the dam involves a suturing job of sorts. Steel cabling will be threaded through the broken spillway to anchor it to the bedrock, and grout will be squeezed in to fill in the crack.

Utility officials say the dam won’t be fixed until after the Fourth of July weekend. That’s bad news for migrating salmon and boaters dealing with the drawdown of the Columbia River behind the dam.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.