Upstream of Wells Dam
East side, upstream of Wells Dam

National Dam Safety Awareness Day seeks to encourage awareness of responsibilities and best practices for dam safety. Proper maintenance, routine inspection, necessary upgrades, and implementation of an Emergency Action Plan all play a role in protecting public health, safety, and welfare.

As part of our safe dam commitment Douglas PUD is investigating the seismic hazard risk associated with Wells Dam.

In the May 2021 billing insert we talked about the Wells Dam East Embankment seismic event concerns. Those concerns still exist, but we are getting more information on what the realistic risks could be. We are implementing drilling plans approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of our regulatory commitment. Those drilling results will help a specialized team of consultants make an informed decision whether or not structural repairs or operational changes are needed at the Wells Project.

The Seismic Hazard Assessment also identified the Spencer Canyon fault as a geologic feature needing further investigation. This fault is believed to be the likely source of the December 1872 North Cascades Earthquake. Not much is known about this fault in relation to Douglas County. The final report, due late this year, will inform the District of the attributes of this fault to support future updates to the seismic hazard evaluation for Wells Dam.

Keeping people safe is our main priority. We regularly practice and update our Emergency Action Plan, which detail a multi-agency response to problems at the dam. You play a key part in dam safety too! Please be aware of your surroundings while recreating on the Wells Reservoir and directly downstream of the dam. Follow all warning signs and recreate responsibly.