Operations & Maintenance of Water Facilities


Elwha River Water Facilities

The challenge

As a prime contractor to the National Park Service (NPS), Veolia provides surface water treatment system operations and management (O&M) of the Elwha River Water Facilities to protect water quality for municipal and industrial users and fish habitats within the watershed as part of the $325 million Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project.

The project challenges are:

  • The NPS removed two dams that were dramatically reducing adult salmon spawning by blocking fish passage on the lower Elwha River.
  • To prepare for the removal of the dams, the NPS constructed a 53-million gallons per day (MGD) surface water treatment plant to remove anticipated heavy sediment loads from the materials stored behind the dams.
  • Veolia provided O&M of the treatment facilities for seven years until sediment loads returned to prescribed levels. Veolia continues to operate the system, without treatment, to support the transfer of clean water to municipal and industrial stakeholders.

Veolia’s solution

Availability of services:

  • Over the course of this multi-term contract, Veolia has provided 24/7 O&M of the treatment and transfer facilities, including the Elwha Surface Water Intake, two fish screens, a diversion pump station, distribution vault structure, chemical and physical treatment systems, and a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for remote reporting and operations. 
  • As a critical step to the dam removal project, these treatment facilities were constructed to maintain existing turbidity levels by physical and chemical sediment removal – protecting the water supply for the City of Port Angeles, a local paper mill, and fish hatchery and rearing facilities.

Ability to adapt:

  • Often over the seven year period of operating the facility, the sediment loads unexpectedly exceeded the design capacity of the pumping and treatment facilities. 
  • Working closely with the NPS, Veolia’s operators made adaptive changes to the collection and treatment systems to ensure compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and meet the needs of receiving stakeholders. 
  • During these challenging conditions, Veolia maintained continuous contact with multiple project stakeholders, including the City of Port Angeles, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Nippon Paper, State of Washington and federal regulatory agencies, to ensure all parties were aware of the changing conditions and taking proactive steps to prevent permit violations and maintain water quality.

The benefits for our client

Guaranteed results:

  • Seven years after the dam removal and operation of the treatment systems to restore the highly turbid river water, repopulation of the endangered Chinook salmon has begun. 
  • Model projections by the Park Service show that up to 392,000 fish will fill 70 miles of habitat, theoretically matching the “pre-dam peak.” 

Long-term commitment:

  • While physical and chemical treatment operations have ended, O&M of the transfer system for clean water continues for downstream stakeholders.