The Wanapum Dam is downstream from the Vantage Bridge, which is the Interstate 90 crossing over the Columbia River in Washington state. (Grant County Public Utility District photo)

Engineers Monitoring Crack in Columbia River Dam

Water levels above the Wanapum Dam are being reduced to 20 feet lower than the normal high operating level to reduce pressure on the spillway after divers found a 2-inch-wide crack that was 65 feet long in the base of one of the spillway piers.

The Grant County Public Utility District is reducing the water level below its hydroelectric Wapanum Dam on the Columbia River because a major crack has opened along the base of one of its spillway piers. Divers confirmed Feb. 27 that the 2-inch-wide crack is 65 feet long, and the district is lowering the water level in the reservoir above the dam to reduce pressure on the spillway. As of March 3, the level will be 20 feet lower than the normal high operating level, according to a district news release that said district officials and independents engineers are monitoring the dam in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Boat ramps in the reservoir can't be used for the time being because of the lowered water level.

The dam is downstream from the Vantage Bridge, which is the Interstate 90 crossing over the Columbia River in Washington state.

"The spillway consists of multiple, independent structural sections that support the spillway gates. Each of Wanapum Dam's 12 spillway gates are capable of passing roughly 80,000 cubic feet of water per second based on current river conditions. In a worst case scenario, if one of the spillway sections failed, the remainder of the spillways and the main dam structure would remain intact. Under current conditions, the amount of water that would flow through this section of the dam would be within the range of normal river conditions," the district's release states. "The team of engineers and regulatory agency personnel are working through the weekend to provide constant monitoring and on-going evaluation of the area. Public safety is the utility's paramount concern. The dam continues to generate electricity without any additional constraints on electric generation except for reduced water levels behind the dam. All boat launches on the Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs are currently unavailable because of the low river elevation."

The district also operates the Priest Rapids Dam on the river.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2019

    June 2019

    Featuring:

    • ASSP SAFETY 2019 PREVIEW
      New Orleans Networking
    • NATION SAFETY MONTH
      Heed These Summer Safety Tips
    • TRAINING
      Education, Skill Development, and Behavior Change
    • SAFETY MANAGEMENT
      What Good Looks Like
    View This Issue

Bulwark Quiz