Elwha dam removal delayed three more years

Peninsula News Network


Port Angeles, WA - Olympic National Park leaders say its’ going to take a little longer to begin tearing down the Elwha River dams, blaming the latest delay on the extra time it’s taking to design a new water system for the City of Port Angeles.

While the removal of the dams has been a “sure thing” for about 4 years now, it is taking much longer to actually get the demolition work underway.

The problem isn’t one you can blame on bulldozers but on drinking water.

For more than a year now, engineers have been working to come up with a suitable way to treat the city’s water source, which is expected to “muddy up” when all the silt is released from behind the dams. That silt is expected to clog up the present collector on the lower Elwha.

Although water specialists were excited about some of the tests they had conducted last year, the actual design of a new system is a little more complicated than first expected.

Project Manager Brian Winter told the Peninsula Daily News Thursday that dam removal is now expected to start in 2007, which is about 3 years later than some of the earlier estimates.

Winter told the paper planners are just “plugging along”, attempting to come up with a workable water treatment system for the city, and take care of all the other pre-planning work for the massive restoration project.

Under the latest timeline, the dams probably wouldn’t be completely gone until 2010, and the restoration process not complete for another 30-years after that.


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