Repairs continue on the Elwha Water Facilities treatment plant, delaying work on removal of Glines Canyon Dam until at least July. The National Park Service, which is running the $325 million federal dam removal program, originally projected the repairs would be completed by April. The agency announced a longer project delay Tuesday.
Dam removal on the Elwha is still predicted to be completed within the original two-year time frame of the contract, according to the park service.
The trouble with the plant became obvious last fall, when leaves, twigs and other debris clogged screens at the intake to the treatment plant on the first fall rains. The debris also got into pumps inside the plant. The plant is supposed to pre-treat water from the river to remove sediment created by dam removal. The plant serves a state salmon-rearing channel, a tribal hatchery and a pulp mill in Port Angeles.
The plant was completed in 2010 at a cost to taxpayers of more than $70 million, as the single most expensive partpart of the Elwha restoration project.
Contractors are at work to replace the screens with a different, rotating design intended to shed debris. Cost of the repairs so far include $1.4 million paid to Macnak Construction of Lakewood for the repairs, and $245,000 and counting to Barnard Construction, the dam removal contractor, for project delays.
For more on the plant problems, and an update on sediment movement in the Elwha as it is unleashed, see my most recent story in The Seattle Times.
Elwha Dam was taken down just about this time last year. About one third of Glines Canyon Dam remains to be removed.