Thursday, April 20, 2017


by Bob Walsh

Jerry Brown, AKA Governor Moonbeam, fearless leader of the formerly great state of California, has been trying mightily to bury information about the problems at the Oroville Dam under a blanket of national security. He has been less than completely successful.

Robert Bea, from the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, has used various state inspection reports, photographs and previously published design specifications to analyze the situation and has come up with what he believes to be a pretty solid, 78-page report which has gone to media outlets.

Bea's report cites poor initial design, poor execution and poor maintenance as serious issues with the spillway.

Bea asserts that the spillway is too thin, in some places 4-6 inches with inadequate steel bridging joining slabs to prevent them from separating. In addition the substrata under the spillway was inadequately prepared, the drainage system was poor and the whole thing was inadequately anchored to the hillside. Combined with poor maintenance he believes that catastrophic failure was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

One of the design characteristics of the spillway is a draining system. The state did not control trees growing right next to the spillway which ended up with root system invading and clogging up the draining system. In addition inadequate site preparation and an old drain resulted in voids being created under the spillway. There were also a fair number of significant cracks in the spillway surface which were not fixed or not fixed property considering the heavy force generated by the water running down the spillway.

I wonder how the 188,000 people forced to evacuate downstream from the dam feel about all this?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really shocked?