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Three PUD employees remain in hospital after accident


EPHRATA, Wash. —Three employees remain at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following an accident last week at Grant PUD’s Priest Rapids Dam, which hospitalized six power-plant electricians and operators.

Over the past weekend, two employees were discharged, one remains in satisfactory condition, one remains in critical condition, and one has improved to serious condition, the utility said in a press release.

“I can think of nothing worse than one of our employees not returning home to see their family at the end of a workday,” said Grant PUD General Manager Tony Webb. “We continue to rally around these employees and their families to provide whatever support we can.”

A support fund has been established at Granco Federal Credit Union in Ephrata, Washington, for the injured employees and their families. Those interested in making a contribution can do so by sending a donation to Granco Credit Union at: P.O. Box 127, Ephrata, WA 98823, or in person at their Ephrata location: 217 Alder St. SW, Ephrata WA 98823. All donations should be earmarked “Priest Rapids Family Fund.”

Inspectors from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries were on site last week to begin what will likely be weeks of investigation into the cause of an electrical equipment failure in the Priest Rapids Dam power plant.

The equipment failure was isolated to one of 10 generating units at the dam. The main circuit breaker, which acts as an on-off switch for the generating unit, malfunctioned, causing the employees to be injured. The generating unit will not operate again until the investigation is finished.

The dam is stable and remains in operating condition. There are no associated public safety issues or downstream flooding impacts, the release stated. The results of the investigation will be provided to commissioners upon completion.

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