The Potter Valley Project (PVP) presents a range of potentially serious issues related to safety and reliability.
The failure of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address dam safety issues as part of the PVP relicensing process has deprived stakeholders and the public of information and analysis critical to assessing the potential utility, and liabilities, of Scott Dam and the Potter Valley Project as a whole.
FERC claims that its dam safety program assures the safety of Scott Dam and other federally licensed hydropower projects. However, the Oroville Dam crisis has raised grave questions about the adequacy of FERC’s dam safety inspection and review program.
The classification of most dam safety related information as closely restricted Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) has contributed to the difficulty of holding PG&E and FERC accountable for their failures to fully address dam safety issues, at Scott Dam and elsewhere. CEII information restrictions also make it more difficult to show that Scott Dam can, in fact, be safely left in place.
FOER has been hammering for years on the many reasons why Scott Dam is not only unsafe, but also unreliable. From its unstable foundation, to the active landslides adjacent to the southern side, our confidence in the structure is shaky at best. Plans for failure of various parts of the aging infrastructure are unavailable to the public at best, non-existent at worst. See below for links to our series of short articles which detail the range of dam safety issues at the Potter Valley Project, complete of course with links to all the evidence we can get our hands on.
PG&E Admits Scott Dam Faces Serious Seismic Risks In a March 16, 2023 press release, PG&E has admitted that Scott Dam faces previously unacknowledged risks from seismic activity. Those risks are so great that the utility has announced that it ... Read More
Hold PG&E At Fault Underlying issues threatening Scott Dam Scott Dam’s proximity to the Bartlett Springs Fault is a major safety concern. The Bartlett Springs fault was not identified by geologists as “a regionally significant seismic source” until the 1980s, ... Read More
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 President Marybel Batjer California Public Utilities Commission 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 via electronic mail as feasible RE: Potter Valley Project Equipment Failure Dear President Batjer, This letter is meant to apprise you ... Read More
Dams and the Consequences of Time Dam safety concerns of Scott Dam’s aging structure This year Scott Dam turned 100 years old, and as is the case with any century-old infrastructure, there are some concerns about its safety. Cape Horn ... Read More
A Much Bigger Problem - More ways poor design impacts dam safety at Scott Dam Decreased water storage, high temperatures, and evapotranspiration cause the sediment that has piled up in steep banks behind Scott Dam to dry out and slough ... Read More
Between a Rock and Management Priorities - Immense Pressure on Scott Dam's Questionable Foundation Of the many safety concerns at Scott Dam, the first we featured in our blog series was the uncertain quality of the bedrock and redesigned dam ... Read More
What is wrong with this picture? Looking below the surface at Scott Dam’s design Did you know Scott Dam was originally designed to run straight across the Eel River Canyon? So why is there an angle in Scott Dam? How ... Read More
Friends of the Eel River has been evaluating the safety and reliability of Scott Dam for several years now. We continue to have serious concerns about structural integrity and seismic stability, as well as PG&E's failure to evaluate and disclose ... Read More
In response to preventable disasters like the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, Pacific Gas and Electric has insisted that they are committed to high safety standards. It’s now a decade, and several other disasters, later and the company has yet ... Read More
A new app from the California Department of Conservation called EQ Zapp identifies earthquake hazard zones based on several types of geologic ground failures. These include fault ruptures, liquefaction of the soil, and earthquake induced landslides. The EQ Zapp shows ... Read More