Wanapum Dam in Washington state has a 65-foot crack in its large structure, which is big enough to cause serious problems if they should arise.
Divers discovered the 65-foot, two-inch-wide crack after an engineer noticed a "bowing" on the road above the dam that is located on the Columbia River in Grant County, Wash. It is a hydroelectric project that engineers are working to maintain the smooth operation of. As a result, they are implementing crisis scenarios in case the Wanapum Dam fails, ABC News reports March 1.
Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick said a concrete spillway has raised the water level by 2.5 inches.
“Since we’ve noticed the issue, there’s no additional movement for that spillway section,” said Stredwick.
Concrete spillway sections are nothing new to the dam since there are more than a dozen of them, according to the report. The issue in this case is that this particular crack is impacting the dam. So far the dam has not been evacuated and is still running electricity for the central region of Washington. The large Wanapum Dam crack is said to potentially cause the dam to fail.
Engineers have begun lowering the water elevation...and by Monday it should be down by 20 feet.
Engineers are conducting stability studies to learn what extent of damage has been done.
A plan is being worked out so that if something go awry with the dam, residents can be notified of the problem. Other hydroelectric dams along the Columbia could be experience problems if the water at Wanapum Dam is raised or lowered.
Copyright © 2014 Heather Tooley
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