PUD backs process for potential Enloe Dam removal study
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
AUGUST 12, 2022 BY MARCY STAMPER
The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) commissioners have agreed to a process that could lead to a feasibility study of the removal of Enloe Dam.
The study would include a plan for managing permitting and liability and identifying projected costs and potential funding sources for dam removal. The commissioners signed a resolution supporting the process on July 25.
The resolution came in response to a detailed memo from the Water and Power Law Group PC sent to the PUD in May. The memo proposed an approach to information gathering to help make a decision about dam removal and included an overview of existing studies and research about Enloe, technical information about removal of other dams, and sample feasibility studies.
The resolution signed by the PUD commissioners notes that the district set out necessary criteria eight years ago for the PUD to consider dam removal. The PUD’s requirements specify that an agency must assume all responsibility and liability for dam removal and that there must be a firm source of funding. The district also requires research into the potential for fish habitat in the Similkameen River above the dam and in Canada.
Until the Water and Power Law Group proposal, the PUD hasn’t been able to support efforts by dam-removal proponents because they were “fragmented, non-comprehensive, and advocacy-based,” according to the resolution. Moving forward requires independent analyses that would meet a true public-interest test, it says.
The Water and Power Law Group memo recommends hiring an independent project manager and engineering firm to assess the complex components of dam removal, including potential contamination in sediment behind the dam, a plan for permitting and liability management, and identifying funding sources. The PUD commissioners agreed that this comprehensive approach would ultimately enable them to make a “go/no-go decision… regarding removal of Enloe Dam.”
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