Crews working to fix leaks in Priest Rapids Dam - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Crews working to fix leaks in Priest Rapids Dam

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MATTAWA, WA - A leaking dam... right in our backyards. 

We looked into the Priest Rapids Dam leaks recently, and Grant PUD crews are still working to fix them. With a price tag between $20,000 and $30,000 a day.

With the Priest Rapids Dam responsible for power across hundreds of miles, reports of leaks in the dam's spillway gave cause for concern.

Spearheading the repair efforts is Grant PUD, who are looking to figure out how the leaks started by breaking down the areas for investigation.

"Where we're focusing our investigation is over in the spillway," said Ryan Holterhoff, public affairs with Grant PUD. "So, we've got twenty-two spillway gates on that part of Priest Rapids Dam and our crews are down in what we call the grout gallery, and it runs more or less at the base of the dam and they're drilling their sampling out of there. When they take those samples out, they're able to see if any water might be coming out of those and so far, we've seen it really in just an isolated portion of the spillway."

Grant PUD tells us they have drilled 80 holes so far, and their goal is 220.

The isolated portion is located at what's known as a lift joint, where an earlier concrete pour meets the newest pouring on top of it... and that's why these holes are so important.

"It's actually almost more like taking a core sample out," Holterhoff explained. "So, if you look at this here, this is an example of a core sample that's being pulled out of the holes that we're drilling. This is not from Priest Rapids Dam, this is from another project we have, but very similar to what's going on in there. As we drill these holes, we're able then to gauge how much water may or may not be flowing through these holes as we pull these samples out."

The drilling could go through June. Grant PUD says the dam continues to generate power as usual and is completely safe and stable.

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