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

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

‘Broken Promises’ County Officials, Public Sound off on Current and Historical Problems at Oroville Dam

A deluge of grievances regarding long-stalled relicensing, management and repairs at the Oroville Dam prompted by the recent crisis at the reservoir were aired at the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday (April 11). Discussion of the dam, which lasted more than two hours, was agendized as an informational update regarding the facility’s relicensing … 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

America’s Aging Dams Are in Need of Repair

After two weeks that saw evacuations near Oroville, Calif., and flooding in Elko County, Nev., America’s dams are showing their age. Nearly 2,000 state-regulated high-hazard dams in the United States were listed as being in need of repair in 2015, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. A dam is considered “high hazard” … Read more