Utility embraces goal of reducing oil releases

Information from Chelan County PUD

Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) has agreed to resolve a dispute about alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Under the agreement, the PUD will seek National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for its Rocky Reach and Rock Island Hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River. The PUD will pursue a range of water quality, aquatics and environmental improvements in the areas surrounding both projects.

 “We’re committed to being good environmental stewards. We have been actively seeking to reduce oil releases from our hydro projects for many years. We view this settlement as helping us move toward a goal we embrace,” said Chelan PUD General Manager Steve Wright.

Chelan PUD will seek to obtain NPDES permits and will evaluate the feasibility of expanding its use of environmentally friendly lubricants over the next year and work to further develop and implement an oil accountability program that better tracks oils and lubricants that enter and leave the projects.

In addition to continuing to promptly report pollutant releases to the Washington State Department of Ecology, the utility also will notify Columbia Riverkeeper of such releases. The PUD will contribute $105,000 toward water quality and aquatic programs in the area of its Rocky Reach and Rock Island projects in the Columbia Basin.

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