Drawdown eases pressure on Columbia dam crack

Drawdown eases pressure on Columbia dam crack
This undated photo provided by Grant County (Wash.) public utility, the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River, Wash., is shown. A crack in a spillway pier at the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River is a serious situation, but not a threat of downstream flooding even in a worst-case scenario, a spokesman for the Grant County Public Utility District said. The 2-inch wide underwater crack extends horizontally across the upstream side of the 65-foot wide pier called a monolith. It's one of 12 monoliths on the spillway. (AP Photo/Grant County (Wash.) public utility)

BEVERLY, Wash. (AP) - Lowering the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington has taken the pressure off a crack in the spillway.

The Grant County Public Utility District said the 2-inch wide crack had closed by nearly an inch Monday and a spillway pier that had bowed has moved back upstream by about an inch.

The utility says the measurements confirm the dam is more stable. It's still generating electricity.

The horizontal crack across a 65-foot wide spillway pillar was discovered underwater Feb. 26 and led the utility drop the reservoir by about 25 feet.

With the reservoir at historic lows, boat launches are closed and people along the shoreline are reminded not to dig for archaeological objects in the newly exposed areas.