News Release Archive

Reclamation investigation on hole discovered downstream of Pinto Dam concluded

Media Contact: Michael Coffey, 208-378-5020,

For Release: October 26, 2020

EPHRATA, Wash. – The Bureau of Reclamation determined a hole discovered 60 feet downstream of Pinto Dam was a result of settling material. Furthermore, no underlying structural concerns were identified. The hole, which was about 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep, was excavated, the area backfilled and compacted, and the investigation was concluded.

“Reclamation took a proactive approach to ensure the continued safety and operation of Pinto Dam through a well-planned and coordinated examination of the issue,” said Ephrata Field Office Operations and Technical Services Manager Joel Finch. “Through our thorough evaluation, we determined the situation did not impact the safety or performance of the dam.”

The Bureau of Reclamation is committed to safety and is a leader for dam safety worldwide. The goals of the Safety of Dams program are long-term stability of dams to protect lives and property, and to ensure the physical integrity of Reclamation dams. For more information on Reclamation’s Safety of Dams program,

Pinto Dam, part of the Columbia Basin Project, is an earthen dam constructed between 1946 and 1948 and is authorized by Congress to manage water for irrigation. The dam measures 130 feet high and 1950 feet long at its crest.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.

Relevant Link:

Safety of Dams Program