The state’s new sport fish hatchery in Fairbanks could go into operation by December. The behind schedule and over budget facility has been plagued by problems with a water treatment system that has failed to work at high water flows. Contractor CH2M Hill has been working to rectify the problem at the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery, which was originally scheduled to come on line more than a year ago. Hatchery Manager Gary George says things finally look promising.
Fairbanks ground water needs to be treated to rear fish. George says iron and manganese concentration targets are being consistently met at maximum flow rates, something that hasn’t happened in previous testing. He credits water purification modifications done last spring for allowing the system to finally perform as designed. The hatchery is in the midst of a 30 day performance test to make sure the system can handle power outages and other upsets. George says if it passes, the hatchery could start operating before the new year, starting with fingerling trout.
Geoge says other species will follow. The hatchery is designed to rear rainbow trout, king and silver salmon, arctic char and arctic grayling to stock interior waters. It’s unclear how much the water system fix will add to the Hatcheries $46 million price, a figure already twice what the state originally estimated. Geoge says the state and CH2M Hill have to work that out.
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