Letter, Some dam facts

March 17, 2014 

The Grant County PUD owns Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams at Columbia River miles 396 and 415 respectively. In the 1950s, when the drawing board existed, the original proposal was to build one high dam at mile 397. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission had nine production reactors operating a few miles downstream. That meant back to the board with two low dams, which was satisfactory to everyone at and around the drawing board.

The second dam was placed 19 miles above the first dam. At some point after the survey but prior to the ground-breaking for that second dam, the project engineers stepped off the critical path. Wanapum Dam is constructed directly on top of the Ryegrass Anticline. It is why they refer to its configuration as a "modified Z design." There is a 130 degree angle where the powerhouse and the spillway are connected; under that is the anticline.

An anticline is a fold, generally convex upward, whose core contains the stratifgraphically older rocks.

Here are a few more facts: Unlike politicians, I've been wrong before and will continue to be wrong about things in the future. Unfortunately, I'm not wrong about this.

Be safe out there.

NEAL LASSILA, Richland

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