Rep. Schrier Visits Electron Dam Site, Receives Update on Cleanup Efforts from Electron and U.S. Army Corps

October 26, 2020
Press Release

ISSAQUAH, WA – Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) recently visited the Electron Dam site in Orting to check in on work being done to remove sheets of used turf with rubber pellets put in place by the owners that are currently polluting the river. It is critical to get this clean up finished before winter storms bring turbulent river flows. Briefing the Congresswoman were representatives from Electron Hydro, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Puyallup Tribe. They were accompanied by fish biologists.

“The work that was performed this summer, which put this garbage in the river in the first place, may have devastating impacts on Endangered Species Act (ESA) protected steelhead trout, chinook salmon and bull trout. That is why it was important for me to see the progress of the clean-up work myself and to hear directly from stakeholders about the future of the project,” said Rep Schrier. “I have serious concerns about the thousands of fish downstream, and whether they will survive and spawn. The dam already kills 40% of juvenile chinook headed to the Sound, and this pollution makes the situation even worse. I am encouraged that work is being done, but remain concerned with the pace of clean-up efforts, the lack of permitting, and the lack of a properly functioning fish passage/ladder at the site. I will continue to be in regular contact with the Army Corps and Puyallup Tribe. If needed, I will undertake oversight powers given to Congress to ensure our environment is protected and future salmon runs are prioritized.”

Rep. Schrier and her office have been in regular contact with representatives from the Puyallup Tribe and surrounding communities for several months after they were informed that used astroturf was being improperly used in construction, contaminating the water and putting endangered species in even more danger. This was not allowable given their work permits, and no notice was given to any permitting agency. Pierce County and the Army Corps both issued stop work orders. The in-water work window closed September 15, and the project could not be completed by then. Electron Hydro has been granted two extensions to remediate the situation. The second one is slated to end later this week on October 28th.

Photo: L-R: Thom Fischer from Electron Hydro, Rep. Schrier, Amy Cruver from Councilmember Jim McCune’s Office and Chris Spens from Electron Hydro.