Crack in Wanapum Dam triggers Flash Flood Watch



Posted on February 28, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 2 at 9:14 AM

GRANT COUNTY, Wash. – A draw down at Wanapum dam triggered a Flash Flood Watch Friday for Grant County.

The Grant County Public Utility District reported that divers discovered the 65-foot-long crack in the dam Thursday.

READ: Diver finds crack in Wanapum Dam spillway

The Flash Flood Watch was issued to alert those that may be on the river below Wanapum Dam that water could flow rapidly from the dam.

No flooding was expected but potential exists for increased flow.

There was no immediate threat to public safety from the crack in the Dam, Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick said Friday.

Dam failure in the rural area south of the small town of Vantage would primarily affect farmers, fishermen and power generation.

Grant County Public Utility District officials said they planned to lower the water level at the Wanapum Dam by 20 feet so inspectors could get a better idea of how serious the damage was.

The dam can generate more than 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. Wanapum Dam was built in 1959 and is more than a mile long.

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.