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Originally published Friday, March 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM

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Drilling to evaluate cracks begins soon at Wanapum Dam

Columbia Basin Herald,

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BEVERLY - Contractors will soon begin investigative drilling into the Wanapum Dam spillway where a fracture was discovered late last month and may use steel strand anchors to repair the spillway.

Grant County PUD plans to work with contractor Kuney-Goebel JV as well as various subcontractors on this project, which is expected to take about nine days to complete.

The drilling is part of an extensive evaluation being conducted on the structure to help determine the cause of the fracture, according to the PUD. Data from the project will be used by PUD engineers, independent consultants and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to determine the best way to repair the structure.

The groups will also use the data when looking at raising the Wanapum reservoir elevation to an intermediate level during the restoration phase, according to a recent agency statement.

A thorough inspection of the dam revealed no additional damage to the dam other than minor surface damage on neighbor spillways.

PUD is currently looking at using steel strand anchors to repair the spillway, and data from the drilling project will help them determine if that would be an effective way to repair the spillway.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain temporarily closed to the public.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the following water access areas this week: Yo Yo, Old Vantage Highway, Sunland Estates, Buckshot and Frenchman Coulee/Climbing Rocks.

The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. Grant PUD posted signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively monitoring the area, according to the PUD.

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