Douglas County PUD is adding nearly one million dollars to its massive project to rebuild and refurbish Wells Dam. 

PUD commissioners approved the increase this week, which will cover the cost of extra work and replacement parts that weren't included in the original budget for the project. 

Douglas PUD spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says the extra expense is being approved ahead of time. 

"We dig into these generating units, we kind of find similar things that need to be repaired that might have not been in the original scope of work," said Vibbert. "That dollar amount and those items we assume will be necessary in that next unit." 

Contractors are starting work to refurbish the seventh of 10 generating units. 

A total of $964,704 is being added to the cost rehabbing the seventh unit after $929,719 was added to the sixth unit. A replacement of a part known as a “runner hub” was needed to complete the sixth unit. If it turns out the additional work is not needed for the seventh unit, then the PUD won't be charged for it.

Vibbert says the extra expense is not that big in comparison to the overall cost. 

"That's a million dollars, but it takes about $25 million per unit to rehab," Vibbert said. 

The massive project of renovating Wells Dam is the most expensive project ever undertaken by Douglas County PUD. 

At more than $245 million, rebuilding all 10 generating units will cost more than it did to build the original Dam in 1965.  

The cost is being spread over the course of the project which is taking 20 plus years to complete. 

The process to rebuild the 10 units was started in 2006. Since that time, the contractors have become much more efficient, with the average rebuild taking 13-14 months.  

It’s hoped an incentive package will speed the process up even further, with the possibility that all 10 generating units could be rebuilt in the next several years.  

The cost to build the dam 57 years ago was $202 million. Wells Dam south of Pateros is the only hydro power dam operated by Douglas PUD. It supplies electricity to all residents in the county. 

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