Oroville Dam2018-03-07T16:03:08+00:00

Oroville Dam

One year after the Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway ruptured on Feb. 7, 2017, crews working day and night have made the most critical repairs to what has become an $870 million project. Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., fixed the dam’s main spillway and an emergency spillway that also was damaged by unprecedented water releases forced by record rainfall in Northern California.

The work has continued in 2018, while the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Washington, D.C., discuss the extent to which the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for repairs. Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that codified the annual inspections DWR already conducts of the vast majority of the 1,249 dams the department oversees. The law requires “low hazard potential” dams be evaluated at least every other year.

Oroville Dam without DWR? It’s a possibility

Chico Enterprise-Record » A bill proposed by Assemblyman James Gallagher which would take the State Water Project out of the hands of the state Department of Water Resources passed unanimously on Tuesday through a legislative committee. Assembly Bill 3045 passed 15-0 through the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

April 24th, 2018|

USGS quake monitors pick up vibrations at Oroville Dam construction site

Chico Enterprise-Record » The state Department of Water Resources said periodic shaking at the dam picked up by USGS monitors has been caused by controlled blasts supporting construction efforts at the site, where workers have been repairing the dam’s main spillway after it crumbled last year, among other projects. So far in April, the USGS has recorded at least three chemical explosions around the main spillway.

April 23rd, 2018|

After heavy rains, first use of partly rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway now ‘unlikely’

The Sacramento Bee » Last week, the California Department of Water Resources said the storm might cause water levels in the Lake Oroville reservoir to rise to the “trigger elevation” of 830 feet. At that point, DWR officials planned to open the spillway gates and release water down the 3,000-foot-long concrete chute. But the lake level only reached 799.7 feet over the weekend.

April 8th, 2018|

A year after crumbling, Oroville Dam’s rebuilt spillway could be tested by coming storm

San Francisco Chronicle » Oroville Dam operators said Tuesday they may have to release water over a partially rebuilt spillway for the first time since repairs began on the badly damaged structure last summer. Department of Water Resources officials said anticipated storms could trigger releases this week or next. 

April 3rd, 2018|

Wet spot on Oroville Dam spillway wasn’t unexpected

Chico Enterprise-Record » There was quite a buzz around Oroville last week about aerial photos that showed a wet streak down the face of the repaired main Oroville Dam spillway. But it was something that had been expected, and the Department of Water Resources said as early as January that it might happen.

April 1st, 2018|

Oroville Dam: Construction of secant pile wall wraps up

Chico Enterprise-News » Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. said on Wednesday that construction of the underground wall below the Oroville Dam emergency spillway completed in early March. The 1,450 feet long wall, drilled 35-65 feet into bedrock, is one preventative measure against the type of erosion that occurred there last year, should the emergency spillway ever be used again.

March 21st, 2018|

DWR submits plans to address Oroville Dam forensic report

Oroville Mercury Register » The state Department of Water Resources submitted a plan to address flaws pointed out by an independent report in  January. DWR has also hired two executive-level engineers — one to report to the director and one to report to the chief dam safety engineer.

March 13th, 2018|

Governor Brown signs dam inspection bill prompted by Oroville scare

The Sacramento Bee » Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that would tighten dam inspection standards following last year’s near catastrophe at Oroville Dam. On Monday, Brown signed Assembly Bill 1270. The bill codifies practices that state dam officials already were largely doing, but that the state’s Water Code only required they perform “from time to time.”

February 26th, 2018|

Oroville Dam: DWR still expects feds to pay bulk of spillway repair costs

The Mercury News » The state Department of Water Resources is still expecting the federal government to pay the bulk of the cost of repairing the Lake Oroville spillways. The estimated cost is up to $870 million, and north state congressmen had indicated the Federal Emergency Management Agency had some doubts whether it could reimburse costs for a redesigned structure.

February 22nd, 2018|

DWR: Crews will be ready to work on main Oroville Dam Chute May 1st

Action News Now » The Department of Water Resources is expecting to resume work on the main Oroville Dam Spillway chute in the beginning of May as long as the weather allows. In terms of the dollar amount, that number remains at $870 million, and the DWR is operating as if FEMA will reimburse about 75% of that cost. Most of the work this year has been focused on the emergency spillway.

February 21st, 2018|

This is what Oroville Dam spillway looks like mid-February 2018

The Sacramento Bee » A gaping hole was discovered in the Oroville Dam main spillway on Feb. 7, 2017, marking the start of a crisis that eventually led to the evacuation of 188,000 downstream residents. A little over a year later, work continues between the emergency spillway weir and cut-off wall, prepping the ground for the splashpad.

February 21st, 2018|

Oroville Crisis Drives Harder Look at Aging US Dams

U.S. News » The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is telling owners of the 1,700 other hydroelectric dams it regulates nationally that it expects them to look equally hard at their own organizations and aging dams, in the wake of the sudden collapse of much of first one, then both spillways last February at the 770-foot-tall (235-meter-tall) Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest.

February 11th, 2018|

Oroville Dam crisis prompts $51 billion lawsuit

The Sacramento Bee » The state got hit with another lawsuit over the Oroville Dam emergency, and this one is enormous. Butte County’s district attorney sued the Department of Water Resources on Wednesday for the environmental damage created by last February’s crisis. In particular, District Attorney Michael Ramsey said DWR should have to pay between $34 billion and $51 billion for the tons of concrete, rock and other debris that fell into the Feather River below the dam.

February 8th, 2018|

Water flowing again through Hyatt Powerhouse at Oroville Dam

Oroville Mercury Register » Water has resumed flowing through the Hyatt Powerhouse at the base of Oroville Dam. The releases were shut off about 7 a.m. Wednesday for what was called routine maintenance. A few hours later, a small fire forced evacuation of the hydroelectric power plant, but California Department of Water Resources officials said the incidents were not related and the powerhouse was not damaged.

February 8th, 2018|
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