Wanapum Dam Fix Could Be $61 Million

Apr 22, 2014

Officials in central Washington revealed the latest update on how much it will cost to fix the massive crack in Wanapum Dam and how long it will take. It's all bad news.

File photo of Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Wash.
Credit Anna King

First of all it’s going to take a long time. Grant County utility district officials say at least past the Fourth of July weekend. That’s not good for migrating salmon and boaters dealing with the drawdown of the Columbia River behind the dam. And then there’s the price tag, $61 million in total. About a third of that is from the crack investigation itself, guarding the river shore and the loss of power production.

The rest is the fix itself. Thomas Stredwick is with the utility district. He says his agency should be able to absorb the financial hit by using some of its savings and taking out further loans.

“Rate increases are a tool that we’re going to use essentially as a last resort," says Stredwick.

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.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network.