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ANTHC DEHE crews complete dam construction in Ouzinkie

December 5, 2014
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After months of hard work, ANTHC’s Division of Environmental Health and Engineering (DEHE) is happy to report that Ouzinkie’s newly renamed Kelly Larson Memorial Dam was recently completed, and a final inspection was conducted in November. The dam replacement is the latest effort in a long partnership between ANTHC and the City of Ouzinkie to deliver clean, reliable drinking water to the Spruce Island community, located north of Kodiak.

The $2.3 million project replaced a deteriorating wooden dam, constructed in 1986, with a new, state of the art concrete faced rock-fill facility built to withstand magnitude 8.8 earthquakes and major floods while efficiently providing affordable hydroelectric power to residents. The dam also impounds the primary water supply for the community. During the final inspection, ANTHC staff was allowed the perfect opportunity to test the dam in full operation, as Ouzinkie experienced a 10-year flood event. The dam passed the event without incurring any damage.

“The new dam will supply the community with a source of renewable energy and water for more than 50 years into the future,” said John Warren, ANTHC Director of Engineering Services. Construction on the new dam began in April after a breach formed on the old structure in mid-March, accelerating the timetable for building the replacement. A two-year flood event in early June delayed construction from the original completion timeline of late August and escalated costs. However, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Environmental Health and Engineering staff, the city, and local construction crews, construction of the new facility was completed before the first snowfall.

A dedication ceremony is planned for spring 2015, during which a plaque honoring Kelly Larson and acknowledging the efforts of those who made the construction of the facility possible will be unveiled.

Environmental Health and Engineering aims to complete additional updates to the dam, including replacing the hydroelectric turbine after concerns were raised about the current equipment’s age and inefficiency, as well as replacing the existing above-ground pipeline, which is showing signs of degradation from exposure to the elements. A grant application has been submitted to the Alaska Energy Authority for these updates, and if everything goes smoothly, ANTHC staff anticipates construction to begin in 2016.


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