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Wanapum Dam: Crack in hydroelectric dam results in lowering of water level

Wanapum Dam in Washington state
Wanapum Dam in Washington state

Wanapum Dam in Washington state, which is 8,320-feet-long, has a 2-inch-wide crack. The Wanapum Dam contains a large hydroelectric power plant on the state’s Columbia River. It currently is capable of generating more than 1,000 megawatts of power, says a Reuters report released by Yahoo! News on Saturday.

The crack that appears is some 65-feet-long and is visible along the base of the dam. Reportedly, there is no danger to the public regarding the huge crack in the dam, yet utility managers are lowering water levels so repairs can be made.

Additionally, the spillway - as it is called - is having its water level taken down to reduce pressure on it so that inspectors can evaluate the situation.

The Wanapum Dam is location some 180miles upstream from Priest Rapids Dam in central Washington state – a rural portion of the state’s land. During the repairs, the decreased water flow may cause the utility to purchase power from elsewhere while affecting the Columbia River hydroelectric system.

The water level is going to be dropped 20 feet by Monday, if all goes as planned.

Thomas Stredwick of the Grant County Public Utility District said that when Wanapum Dam is impacted, it also affects dams upstream because the dams coordinate to generate energy regionally.

Wanapum Dam is a hydroelectric project south of Vantage, Washington where Interstate 90 crosses the Columbia River from Grant County into Kittitas County. Grant County Public Utility District owns it. Lake Wanapum is the name of the reservoir at the dam.

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