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Elwha project may not resume until next year

April 22nd, 2013 - 5:27am

(Port Angeles) -- Removal of the final 60 feet of a dam on the Elwha River may be delayed into next year.

Fixes to water treatment facilities near the mouth of the river are not working.

As of last week, sediment from the river was entering inside the facilities. The plants' designs were meant to keep sediment outside through a filtering process. The filters on at least one of the facilities have failed.

Crews began working on a problem with the filters last month. But contractors donít yet have a proven fix for the problems that began last October.

US Bureau of Reclamation's sediment coordinator on the project, Tim Randle, tells the Seattle Times if a fix is not found in the next month or so, the project will have to go on hold. He says they'll have lost the advantage of higher runof, and lower, summer flows would allow sediment to overwhelm the river.

The water treatment plants were built as part of the Elwha Restoration project. The 77 million dollar plants were intended to treat sediment laden water while the two dams on the river come out. They provide water for the city's residential and industrial users as well as water for a fish hatchery being used to rear salmon to replace runs in the Elwha.

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