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Remote-controlled dam washer wins national award

A clever invention of Tacoma Power employees is cleaning up in more ways than one.

Today, the utility won an Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award for Operational Excellence from the National Hydropower Association.

Tacoma Power won the award for its remote-controlled dam washer, a unique solution to the dangerous job of cleaning moss off the utility’s seven hydroelectric dams. Employees at the Cowlitz River Project designed and fabricated the remote-controlled pressure washer to safely and effectively perform this job.

Tacoma Power needs to remove the moss at some of its dams every three to five years in preparation for dam safety inspections by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

With the dam washer, Tacoma Power has:

  • Cleaned more than 500,000 square feet of concrete on four dams – an area larger than 10 football fields
  • Improved employee safety
  • Increased efficiency and reduced costs of moss removal

“The dam washer is a testament to our employees’ skill and ingenuity,” said Tacoma Power Generation Manager Pat McCarty. “With some thought and a little time to act on it, they found a safer, more efficient way to do their work and ultimately provide more value to our customers.”

Check out a short video about the creation of the dam washer.

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