Grand Coulee Pumping Plant Operational by March 1

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GRAND COULEE, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation anticipates all 6 pump units in the John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant will be available to fill Banks Lake prior to the 2014 irrigation season, and expects to provide a normal irrigation water supply in the Columbia Basin.

The pump plant has been out of service since a fire on November 18. The fire was contained to the south end of the pump plant at Grand Coulee Dam and caused damage to the switchgear for Pump Generator 12 (PG-12). An employee injured in the fire, Dan McCulloch, continues to be cared for at Harborview Medical Center in Spokane.

All units in the plant are contaminated to some extent by smoke residue and other potentially hazardous materials and must be thoroughly cleaned and tested before undergoing routine offseason maintenance and ultimately being returned to operation. "We are working hard to bring the plant back online and expect to have six pumps operating on or before March 1," said Lynne Brougher, Public Affairs Officer at Grand Coulee Dam.

Reclamation has been cleaning the Keys Plant since Dec. 6 and additional cleaning crews have been temporarily hired to expedite the process. Cleaning will take place over the next two months and as units are cleaned, they will be brought back into service.

Currently, Banks Lake is at elevation 1565.74. Full Banks Lake elevation is 1570. It takes an equivalent of four pumps being operated for seven days to fill Banks Lake. There are six pumps and six pump generators in the Keys plant.

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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.

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