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Thread: OT: Oroville Dam queries.

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Brainsmile View Post
    There are parts of the dam that are just crumbling on as I see it on the TV. Crazy
    To be clear, this is the spillway and the emergency spillway. The Dam itself is (apparently fine). When I first heard this news last night it was someone telling me that the Oroville dam was failing and being pretty familiar with the area I completely flipped. If that dam goes (the highest in the US), watch out.

  2. #17
    I can't comment on the particulars and I have no idea what the design basis was (years, flow rates, etc). But I do imagine that this is not the only infrastructure project from the 50's and 60's that probably needs addressing.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastabear View Post
    To be clear, this is the spillway and the emergency spillway. The Dam itself is (apparently fine). When I first heard this news last night it was someone telling me that the Oroville dam was failing and being pretty familiar with the area I completely flipped. If that dam goes (the highest in the US), watch out.


    Dam is useless if the weakest link gives. That cement structure on the right side can be A-OK. The earthen stuff of the left can theoretically give no? Looks scary to me, but I'm a layperson who knows nothing about this.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by burritos View Post


    Dam is useless if the weakest link gives. That cement structure on the right side can be A-OK. The earthen stuff of the left can theoretically give no? Looks scary to me, but I'm a layperson who knows nothing about this.
    But that's a mountain. That's not going to "give" in the same way as the cement structure failing would. Sure there could be erosion, but not "failure". The crazy thing is the spillway itself. Can't see it from this picture but there's a pretty good hole right in the middle of that. That could definitely grow and take out everything below the hole (including the spillway itself). Super bad.

  5. #20


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_Dam

    Just 40 miles north of L.A. 1928 was when it failed. Granted Oroville was completed 40 years with the latest and greatest techonology of its time.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by burritos View Post


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_Dam

    Just 40 miles north of L.A. 1928 was when it failed. Granted Oroville was completed 40 years with the latest and greatest techonology of its time.
    Thanks for this.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by burritos View Post
    I think playing the blame game is kind of fruitless. There are an infinite number of things that can be fixed, retrofitted, replaced. There isn't an infinite number of resources to address these potential risks. Twelve years ago or any of the subsequent drought years, had a politician raised taxes to get the funds to fix the spillway, that would have been political suicide. We know another big earthquake coming and it's going to be frigging painful. Why aren't we enacting martial law and garnishing resources to mitigate all the risks as if an invading army were coming?Human nature is to react to mother nature, not anticipate it.
    Forget the blame game. It matters not whether Repub or Dem to me. What matters is that choices were made at some point that funding "upkeep" for this particular infrastructure and others were given up to spend money in other arenas. For example, were this an HOA, there would be major lawsuits for not funding the 20/30 year plans. If you start a project keep it up. If not don't start it. This is not looking back and having funding causing increased taxes that would be political suicide. This is taking on the next project at the expense of keeping this one up. The first Gov. Pat Brown did an excellent job of building freeways, dams, bridges, etc. The future of those projects was robbed by adding more services down the line that took from their upkeep, much like Lyndon Johnson robbing the Social Security fund for his Social Welfare programs. If you have the money fine. If not, don't do it. In the latter case the power of compounding interest was lost forever, and now we debate the future of Social Security. Stupid is as stupid does.

  8. #23
    Real Bear
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    Oroville dam project started 1957, dam opened 1968. Built during Brown, dedicated by Ray-gun.
    Last edited by joe yaks; 02-13-2017 at 10:37 AM.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by 1979bear View Post
    This is what makes Cal alums, in this way at least, no better--and probably worse--than alums of what Cal alums believe to be "lesser" schools. Goobear lit the unnecessary match, and others immediately jumped in with fuel.
    Yes sorry. Will not do it again but surely easy to get things going.

  10. #25
    Real Bear tc3590's Avatar
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    My family and I had to evacuate last night. We are 30 minutes from the dam. We took off from Marysville around 6 and got to Roseville around 8. 30 minute drive turned into 2 hours but it could have been a lot worse.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by tc3590 View Post
    My family and I had to evacuate last night. We are 30 minutes from the dam. We took off from Marysville around 6 and got to Roseville around 8. 30 minute drive turned into 2 hours but it could have been a lot worse.
    So sorry to hear that. Hope everything turns out well for you and your family.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by OdontoBear66 View Post
    Forget the blame game. It matters not whether Repub or Dem to me. What matters is that choices were made at some point that funding "upkeep" for this particular infrastructure and others were given up to spend money in other arenas. For example, were this an HOA, there would be major lawsuits for not funding the 20/30 year plans. If you start a project keep it up. If not don't start it. This is not looking back and having funding causing increased taxes that would be political suicide. This is taking on the next project at the expense of keeping this one up. The first Gov. Pat Brown did an excellent job of building freeways, dams, bridges, etc. The future of those projects was robbed by adding more services down the line that took from their upkeep, much like Lyndon Johnson robbing the Social Security fund for his Social Welfare programs. If you have the money fine. If not, don't do it. In the latter case the power of compounding interest was lost forever, and now we debate the future of Social Security. Stupid is as stupid does.
    I'm not privy to these details, but maybe they had money slated for upkeep when the project was originated, but like everything else, the costs of the upkeep were projected inaccurately or other higher priority issues takes place.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by tc3590 View Post
    My family and I had to evacuate last night. We are 30 minutes from the dam. We took off from Marysville around 6 and got to Roseville around 8. 30 minute drive turned into 2 hours but it could have been a lot worse.
    Are you getting the feeling that this is precautionary? Good luck.

  14. #29
    My college roommate was from Oroville (he's the DA there now); needless to say I heard plenty about That Dam Project.
    First it is earthen fill covered with a concrete shell to prevent erosion of the earth. This is an ancient construction method
    used for millennia, a hard shell covering a soft core. The Failed spillway was constructed the same way. Once the concrete
    spillway shell failed rapid erosion of the soft core produced a massive hole. I've known about Oroville for a long time,
    there are several similar dams in California, the long delayed New Melones dam near Sonora for example; Trinity...

    There are a relatively few all concrete dams in the state, Hetch Hetchy may be the most famous, Shasta Dam is the largest;
    being all concrete they are much less massive, but do not have a vulnerable soft core. Their chief danger is water cutting
    a path around the concrete structure; one reason that like Hoover they typically are located in rock walled canyons as
    opposed to dirt slopes like Oroville and Trinity. Once the concrete skin/shell of an earthen fill dam is breached, erosion can
    produce sinkholes and ultimate failure is a possibility. The erosion can move laterally, which is why the spillway was not
    located next to the dam itself but separated by the 'hill'. I saw images of the water flowing over the dam itself. That is bad
    news for an earthen dam is not always hardened on the back side.

    We can talk about maintenance, but this is really a problem of poor water management.

    Dam managers do not fill up dams in the winter; they hold the level down to be able to contain the forecast spring runoff
    (roughly 15-20% of capacity). Somebody made a big miscalculation; allowing the dam to fill up in the middle of the
    winter. There is also the issue of shoreline covered by waters from the dam. When full Shasta Lake has 365 miles of shoreline
    compared to 160 miles for a full Oroville. When the waterlevel at Shasta is 60 feet from the top, the shoreline shrinks nearly
    70 miles. When the waterlevel drops 137 feet the shoreline has shrunk over 160 miles; the impact on lake businesses, recreation
    and neighbors is magnified by drops in water level. I suspect, for some reason, Oroville operators were maintaining the lake water
    level higher than might have been advised. The Corps may have dictated maximum downstream flow rates to prevent damaging
    downstream structures like levees, bridges, piers, etc... and that flow rate wasn't enough to drop the Oroville water level to safe levels.

    It's a lot like driving 130mph on tires rated for 110mph and experiencing a blowout; yes the tires failed, but why the need to drive 130mph?


    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastabear View Post
    But that's a mountain. That's not going to "give" in the same way as the cement structure failing would. Sure there could be erosion, but not "failure". The crazy thing is the spillway itself. Can't see it from this picture but there's a pretty good hole right in the middle of that. That could definitely grow and take out everything below the hole (including the spillway itself). Super bad.
    Last edited by sp4149; 02-13-2017 at 11:43 AM.

  15. #30
    "Drought will likely persist through the winter in many regions currently experiencing drought, including much of California and the Southwest"

    http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/us...r-wetter-north

    The California legislature passed 898 new laws that went into affect in 2017.




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