Dye Test to be Conducted at Grand Coulee Dam

Media Contact: Annette Ross, (208) 378-5322
Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503

For Release: March 13, 2014

GRAND COULEE, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation will conduct a dye test beginning March 13 at Grand Coulee Dam, to locate water leakage into the Right Powerhouse when it rains. The leakage poses no danger to the public and the condition of both the dam and powerhouse are sound. Grand Coulee Dam is located on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Wash.

"We want to prevent employees from slipping on wet floors. This dye test should help us identify the source, so measures can be taken to correct the issue," said Acting Power Manager Kerry McCalman.

The movement of the dye will help to determine the path of the leakage and will assist engineers to plan for future maintenance needs. Dye may be injected multiple times over the next two weeks to check several places for leakage. The water below the dam may be slightly discolored as the engineers inject a biodegradable blue dye on the upstream side of the Right Powerhouse at the base of the dam. The dye is safe for the environment and harmless to animals and humans.

Grand Coulee Dam produces enough electricity to supply more than 1 million homes in an average water year. The project also provides about one-quarter of the total generation of hydroelectric power for the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1941 and serves as a multipurpose facility providing water for irrigation, hydroelectric power production, flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife.

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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 www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.