Catastrophic engineering expert asks: Is Oroville Dam leaking?

One of the country’s foremost experts on catastrophic engineering failures released a new report Thursday on the troubled Oroville Dam that asks a disturbing question: Is the country’s tallest dam leaking? State dam managers have insisted for months that there’s no problem, and that persistent green wet spots near the top left abutment of the … Read more

California Legislature Votes to Keep Dam-Safety Plans Secret

Fresh off the Oroville Dam crisis, California lawmakers on Thursday voted to make dam-safety plans secret through language that was quietly inserted into a budget-related bill. The legislation, which requires Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature before becoming law, says emergency action plans at dams would be kept confidential to “protect public safety.” Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba … Read more

State orders in-depth assessments of more than 50 California dams following Oroville crisis

Months after the Oroville Dam crisis, state regulators are ordering sweeping inspections of aging dams throughout California to determine whether they, too, have vulnerabilities. The move comes as state officials are still trying to determine precisely what caused both spillways at the Oroville Dam to fail, prompting the evacuation of numerous towns downstream of the reservoir. The … Read more

Officials Worried About Trinity Dam Safety

Concerned Trinity Dam could suffer the same fate as Oroville Dam — which had a near catastrophic failure this past winter — the Trinity County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to continue to pursue getting an emergency spillway built on the dam. Supervisor Bill Burton said residents in his district watched the Oroville Dam incident unfold … Read more

Oroville Dam Problems May Point to Systemic Industry Issues

The spillway problems that occurred at the Oroville Dam in February may be part of more systemic issues in the dam industry, says Stanford dam expert Martin McCann, Jr. ON MAY 3, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the fourth report by an independent board of consultants examining what went wrong during the Oroville Dam … Read more

Jerry Brown’s Administration Blocks Public Review of Oroville Dam Records

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is using federal security regulations written to thwart terrorism to deny public access to records that experts say could guide repairs to the Oroville Dam and provide insight into what led to the near catastrophic failure of its emergency spillway. The administration also is blocking public review of records that would … Read more

Editorial: Time for Legislature to Fight Through Oroville Dam Secrecy

State legislators aren’t getting answers about the Lake Oroville spillway. Neither is the federal government. Or the county government. Or journalists. Or the public. But matters are coming to a head as two north state legislators whose districts include Lake Oroville are demanding answers. It’s about time. Last Thursday, Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, admitted … Read more

Oroville Disaster May Have Been Caused by Weak Soil Under Spillway

Portions of Oroville Dam’s damaged spillway may have been built atop highly weathered rock, geologists say, a type vulnerable to erosion during the weeks of rain that led up to the disaster. THE DESTRUCTION OF Oroville Dam’s main spillway in February likely occurred because it was built on highly erodible rock, according to several experts interviewed … Read more

Oroville Dam Documents Kept Secret by State, Federal Officials

Citing potential security risks, state and federal officials are blocking the public’s ability to review documents that could shed light on repair plans and safety issues at crippled Oroville Dam. One of the secret reports is a memo from an independent panel of experts brought in to guide state officials’ repair plans. Another confidential document … Read more