The largest dam removal in U.S. history is running into problems. Over 200,000 fish were found dead at a hatchery on Washington's Elwha River after a water pump failed over the weekend.
The water pump was put in to supply water to the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe’s hatchery. Originally, the hatchery was supposed to get its water from the newly constructed Elwha Water Treatment Plant. But this past spring, sediment released from above the dams clogged the Plant.
The hatchery was forced to rely on a secondary pump to supply water for the fish. When the pump failed this past weekend, half the hatchery’s annual output of coho salmon and steelhead were killed.
Barb Maynes is a spokeswoman for Olympic National Park, which is overseeing the dam removal.
“It’s very unfortunate and a shame that the fish were lost, and we’re doing everything we can to get the water facilities back and operational.”
The Olympic National Park paid $79 million for that treatment facility as part of the dam removal project. It was designed and built by San Francisco-based URS Corp.
The Park Service has already spent $1.4 million repairing the facility.
There have been reports that the Park will sue the company, but Maynes declined to comment.
Copyright 2013 KUOW