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Crack found in Washington dam on Columbia River

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:44 p.m. HST, Feb 28, 2014

EPHRATA, Wash. » A 65-foot-long crack in a Columbia River dam in central Washington has prompted officials to begin lowering the water level by 20 feet so inspectors can get a better idea of how serious the damage is.

Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick said Friday there's no immediate threat to public safety from the crack in the Wanapum Dam, located just downstream from where Interstate 90 crosses the river.

Still, the Seattle Times reports Stredwick calls the crack a serious problem. An engineer earlier this week spotted a slight "bowing" above the spillway gates near where cars can drive across the dam. Divers found a 2-inch-wide crack along the base of one of the spillway piers.

Public utility district officials decided Friday that the failure risk was high enough that they should notify other government agencies and downstream water users.

Dam failure in the rural area would primarily affect farmers, fishermen and power generation. 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.

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manakuke wrote:
Ominous indeed.
on March 1,2014 | 01:42AM
cojef wrote:
Questionable engineering??
on March 1,2014 | 07:28AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Another picture came into my mind from the word "crack" however noting that a Dam is associated with Crack, we know.
on March 1,2014 | 02:25AM
richierich wrote:
Plumbers Crack?
on March 1,2014 | 04:59AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Drugs are everywhere.
on March 1,2014 | 08:29AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
on March 1,2014 | 08:30AM
st1d wrote:
probably going to have more aging dams showing the stress of holding massive amounts of water pressure over the years. this 55 year old dam was just recently certified for another 40 years. they'll need to keep a close watch on the damage when the snows begin to melt away.
on March 1,2014 | 11:10AM
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