According to a statement from the utility, a muffled roar and a puff of pulverized concrete preceded a rush of water at the dam following a planned detonation on 26 October. PacifiCorp and prime contractor JR Merit, along with the detonation crew from Kiewit Infrastructure West, also of Vancouver, surveyed the blast zone, took readings from sensing devices on the dam and flew over the area in a helicopter before declaring the breach event a success and the remaining structure safe.

“Condit has served our customers very well for nearly a century,” said Micheal Dunn, president and chief executive officer of PacifiCorp Energy, which operates 46 hydroelectric facilities in the West. “We are sad to lose this emission-free source of power. But we made a decision to work with our settlement partners to come to the most reasonable solution for everyone involved, especially the cost to our customers. For the next 11 months, we will proceed with the safe dismantling of the dam structure and work toward restoring the natural streambed of the area.”

Dam removal was determined to be less costly to PacifiCorp customers than the fish passage that would be required for dam operation to be granted under a new federal hydroelectric power license. The cost of decommissioning and removing Condit is currently estimated at about $33M, including funds already spent during the planning process over the 12 years since the settlement was originally announced.

About 150 representatives of the settlement parties, contractors and local leaders gathered a safe distance away from the dam to watch a live webcast of the final blast. The gathering was used to acknowledge the efforts of all parties to the decommissioning settlement agreement. “Getting to this point took a long time and a focused work effort,” said Todd Olson, program manager for PacifiCorp Energy. “Many people have worked to get the project to this point and PacifiCorp recognizes their contribution.”

Demolition of the remaining portion of the dam is scheduled to begin in spring 2012 and be completed by 31 August, 2012. Restoration work throughout the former reservoir area is planned to be completed by the end of 2012.

Related Articles
Agreement reached for Condit Dam decommissioning
PacifiCorp sets date to remove Condit Dam