Emergency designation for Priest Rapids Dam lifted after cause of leaking determined

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The “non-failure emergency condition” in place at Priest Rapids Dam since March when leaking water was found in the dam’s spillway monoliths, has been lifted, the Grant Count PUD reported.

The PUD, working with the Federal Emergency Regulatory Commission, removed the designation Monday. After the leaking water was discovered the reservoir behind the dam was lowered and held in what is considered the normal minimum operating range of 484.5 to 481.5 feet above sea level.

The reservoir is now operating normally.

During the past year, crews have been conducting more drilling to determine the source of the leaking and release pressure in the leaking area. They also have been installing more monitoring equipment.

The leaking water was the result of a disbanded lift joint, or seam in the mass of concrete that makes up the spillway’s support structure, called monoliths, the PUD said

Officials are also conducting a root-cause analysis to discover why the lift joint became disbonded and are determining if and what future remedies are needed.