writes: Wanapum Dam has been found with a 65-foot (20 meter) crack. Water levels are being lowered to both reduce water pressure and give the inspectors access to the area.
"Earlier this week, an engineer noticed a slight irregular “bowing” above the spillway gates near where cars can drive across the dam.
When divers finally took a look under water they found a 2-inch-wide crack that stretched for 65 feet along the base of one of the dam’s spillway piers...
The artilcle goes on to say
"Even if the dam doesn’t fail, the significance of the damage is likely to require extensive repairs and that, too, could impact the entire Columbia River system.
“All these dams coordinate to generate energy on a regional scope,” Stedwick said. “If Wanapum is impacted, that has impacts on dams up stream as well as below.”
Up stream dams would be required to handle more water, the lower Dams means just one (Priest rapids Dam); after that is the last free flowing section of the Columbia river. Daily walks along that section I've seen it deviate (higher or lower) by amazing amount of water; it can handle it.
On top of this situation you have a large group of people that would like that particular Dam removed as well as the one above and below it (think of the fish!) http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/..., after Priest rapids dam (down stream from Wanapum Dam) is the Hanford Nuclear Reservation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... once the site for Plutonium production area. Either of which stand to get a lot of press from this.
Personally I'd like to give the engineer that noticed a slight irregular “bowing” and atta boy.