Reclamation Issues Draft EA for John W. Keys, III Pump-Generating Plant Modernization Project

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503

For Release: December 14, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the John W. Keys, III Pump-Generating Plant Modernization Project for public review and comment. The pump-generating plant is located at Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Washington.

The Draft EA identifies the concerns, issues, and analyses related to the modernization effort. The document addresses issues obtained during the July 6 - August 15, 2011, public scoping period. The comment period ends on Jan. 31, 2012. A final EA is expected in March 2012. The purpose of the modernization project is to increase the plant's operational reliability by replacing and repairing components that are exhibiting substantial age-related wear. The core operation of the plant depends on six pumps and six pump-generating units that require frequent maintenance and challenging repairs due to their age.

The John W. Keys, III Pump-Generating Plant provides irrigation water to about 670,000 acres of farmland in the Columbia Basin Project. It has a hydroelectric generating capacity of 314 megawatts and has been in operation since the early 1950s.

The Draft EA describes three alternatives, including a preferred alternative:

- No Action: Reclamation would continue operating the John W. Keys, III Pump-Generating Plant's pump and pump-generating units under the existing maintenance program.

- Plant Modernization: Reclamation would overhaul and modernize the pump and pump-generating units. This would include work on the unit controls, transformers, circuit breakers, and the fire protection equipment.

- Preferred Alternative - Plant Modernization with Left Powerhouse Decoupling (Disconnecting): Reclamation would overhaul and modernize the pump and pump-generating units. The pumps will be disconnected from the Grand Coulee left powerhouse and directly linked to BPA's transmission grid.

A Draft EA is available at the Grand Coulee Public Library, 225 Federal Road, Grand Coulee, Wash. The Project Summary is posted at For more information contact Keith McGowan, Environmental Protection Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Columbia Cascades Area Office, 1917 Marsh Road, (CCA-1607), Yakima, WA 98901-2058 or by email at .

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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