Pierce County closely monitoring Howard Hanson Dam situation

Managers in two Pierce County agencies are closely following developments concerning the potential flood situation in King County’s Green River Valley this winter.

“We are working closely with King County Office of Emergency Management officials to provide any assistance they may need from us,” said Pierce County Emergency Management Director Steve Bailey.

The Howard Hanson Dam reservoir has been lowered and will not have the normal water storage capacity this winter. Harold Smelt, manager of Pierce County Public Works and Utilities’ Surface Water Management division, said a large winter storm might cause flooding in the Green River in King County but should not cause any damage in Pierce County. “There is no cross connection threat from the Green River to the White River in our county,” he added.

The Mud Mountain Dam on the White River in Pierce County is an earthen dam like the Howard Hanson Dam, but work to shore up its walls has already been completed.

Pierce County public safety officials are working with King County on safe evacuation routes and possible emergency sheltering options should a flood occur in the Green River Valley.

“Staff is closely monitoring the situation and providing me continuous updates,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “We will move very quickly to activate the county’s Emergency Operations Center should there be any potential threat to Pierce County citizens.”

More information on the Howard Hanson Dam can be found at King County Office of Emergency Management web site http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/FloodPlan/GreenRiverValley.aspx and information on the Mud Mountain Dam can be found at http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/PublicMenu/Menu.cfm?sitename=MM&pagename=PAGE1 .