A new estimate for design, construction, permits and taxes for Enloe Dam is almost three times more than the costs the Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) has anticipated in its planning for the dam over the past decade.
PUD Commissioner Scott Vejraska said he didn’t have exact numbers available, but that design, construction and environmental fees came to about $84 million in the proposal submitted by Max J. Kuney Company last week.
The previous estimate to build Enloe was $31 million. The PUD has spent about $16 million on the licensing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has issued a license to the PUD to build new infrastructure for a hydropower plant. Enloe hasn’t produced power for half a century.
The commissioners and staff are still reviewing the numbers and going over the proposal and haven’t made a decision on the project, said Vejraska. “We’re still looking at all our options,” he said. The commissioners will discuss Kuney’s proposal at their board meeting on Monday (Nov. 19) at 2:30 p.m.
Okanogan County Commissioner Jim DeTro said on Tuesday (Nov. 13) that he’d spoken with a PUD commissioner about the cost estimate and that one of the options the PUD is exploring is whether it can leave the dam in place and convert the water rights associated with the dam to other uses.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which owns the land Enloe sits on, said in a 2015 letter that if the PUD decides to decommission the dam, the right-of-way agreement requires the PUD to remove the dam and all related structures and to restore the land to its original condition. The PUD would be liable for costs of removal and restoration, but BLM would expect to be involved.
“We would expect that our involvement would lead to collaborative outcomes that may benefit any resources that we, and other partners, would wish to protect or improve during any such decommissioning,” said BLM’s field manager in the letter.