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Water quality: State issues JC Boyle removal draft certification

Public hearings June 12 at OIT

Herald and News 5/30/18


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has released its draft Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed removal of the J.C. Boyle hydroelectric development, located in Klamath County.

According to a press release, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) submitted its application to the DEQ in September 2016 for water quality certification pursuant to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

“KRRC is currently reviewing the draft conditions of certification,” said KRRC Executive Director Mark Bransom in the press release. “The issuance of this draft is a positive and important step forward in the regulatory timeline of the KRRC project.”


Members of the public are invited to comment on the draft certification for the removal of the J.C. Boyle Dam, reservoir, powerhouse and related infrastructure at public hearings on Tuesday, June 12.

The meetings are at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Oregon Institute of Technology, College Union Auditorium, 3201 Campus Drive, Klamath Falls. Written comments are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 6.

The J.C. Boyle hydroelectric development is part of the Lower Klamath decommissioning project that also includes the Copco No.1, Copco No.2, and Iron Gate facilities in Siskiyou County, Calif.

It’s part of the 2016 Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Funding for the project comes from PacifiCorp customer surcharge which totals $200 million, plus California Proposition 1 which has set aside $250 million. The timeline calls for decommissioning to start in 2021 at the earliest.

This draft section 401 water quality certification specifically addresses the proposed actions located in Oregon. The removal of the project’s California developments will be addressed under a separate water quality certification administered by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

DEQ expects dam removal to temporarily reduce water quality below established criteria during and following reservoir drawdown, documents said.

However, DEQ also expects dam removal will result in a net ecological benefit and improved long-term water quality. For this reason, DEQ has completed a draft Section 401 Water Quality Certification that includes a time schedule for compliance.

The certification establishes a time compliance schedule up to two years after which DEQ expects project will no longer cause violations of water quality standards.

To verify this expectation, DEQ will require the KRRC to monitor water quality, consult with resource agencies, and perform corrective actions if impacts persist beyond the compliance time schedule.



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