News Release Archive

Reclamation Seeks Comments on Proposed Drum Gate Maintenance Structure at Grand Coulee Dam

Media Contact: Kelly Bridges, (208) 378-5101
Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503

For Release: November 02, 2015

GRAND COULEE, Wash. — The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comments to identify issues and concerns to be addressed in an Environmental Assessment for a proposed Drum Gate Maintenance Structure at Grand Coulee Dam. Reclamation will use the public feedback to help develop alternative options and analyze the environmental impacts of the proposal.

The maintenance structure would assist Reclamation in overhauling and maintaining the 11 drum gates at Grand Coulee Dam that help control the elevation of Lake Roosevelt. The drum gates are 75 years old and are in need of significant maintenance.

Reclamation proposes to evaluate the following alternatives in the Environmental Assessment:

Alternative A – No Action: Reclamation would continue maintaining the drum gates as in the past, both according to a set schedule and at unplanned times. The agency would schedule maintenance during low-water times whenever possible, but there could still be unavoidable unplanned maintenance at other times of the year that would require drawing down the reservoir in order to access the drum gates. In addition to regular repairs, the drum gates will soon require extensive maintenance due to their age and condition that could only be accomplished with an extended reservoir drawdown of up to 12 years.

Alternative B – Drum Gate Maintenance Structure: Reclamation would construct a bulkhead structure that would attach to the dam and provide a water-free space between the bulkhead and the drum gate. This would allow the agency to perform both an overhaul of the drum gates and ongoing maintenance in dry conditions without drawing down the reservoir for extended periods. Reservoir drawdowns might still occur during development of the bulkhead, for routine maintenance on the other gates while each gate is undergoing an overhaul, for flood control and for emergencies. A final concept for the bulkhead is still in development. Permanent dam modifications would be required, but efforts would be made to minimize them. When not in use, the bulkhead likely would be stored either within the reservoir or in a separate storage facility near the reservoir. Reclamation is still evaluating options for the bulkhead assembly location on either the east or west shore of the reservoir. The final design and assembly location will be described in the Environmental Assessment.

The Environmental Assessment will evaluate the impacts of each alternative on the human and natural environments. The final Environmental Assessment is expected to be published in June 2016.

Please send your written comments on the proposed alternatives to Jessica (Gottlieb) Peters, Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Northwest Region, 1150 N. Curtis Road, Suite 100, Boise, Idaho, 83706, by Dec. 4, 2015, or email

# # #

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