The 1,200 MW Goldendale pumped-storage project planned for along the Columbia River in Klickitat County will have to reapply for a key water quality certification after the State of Washington denied it "without prejudice" on June 22, saying it "has not received the necessary information to have reasonable assurance that the project will meet state water quality laws."
Project developers applied for the Section 401 certification on June 29, 2020, and under federal law a decision must be issued within a year.
The Department of Ecology says it still has questions about how the project will mitigate the loss of stream and riparian habitat in wetlands; whether groundwater will be contaminated by excavation of the project's lower pool, which is on a former aluminum smelter site; how wastewater and stormwater disposal will be conducted; and how contaminated soil from the site will be addressed.
Goldendale is being jointly developed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Rye Development. The project is slated to go into operation in 2028.
Colleen Keltz, Ecology spokeswoman, told Water Power West the project developers applied for certification application "too early," given the complexity of the undertaking.