Wanapum Dam Fix Could Be $61 Million

By Anna King

Now to central Washington and the ongoing issue with the massive crack in Wanapum Dam. We’re hearing today about how much a fix will cost and how long it will take. And it’s all bad news.

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. Sixty-one-million-dollars 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 …
Thomas Stredwick: “Rate increases are a tool that we’re going to use essentially as a last result.”

Preliminary studies show that the concrete make-up of Wanapum is still strong. That leaves investigators looking at the construction and the design of the dam.

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