Water & Drought

Feds order independent review of Oroville Dam spillway problems

From the air, ruined landscape clearly shows effect of Oroville Dam spillway problem

Video images recorded from the air on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, show the chewed-up and denuded route taken by water coming over Oroville Dam's emergency spillway when damage to the main spillway required the first-ever use of the alternative path.
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Video images recorded from the air on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, show the chewed-up and denuded route taken by water coming over Oroville Dam's emergency spillway when damage to the main spillway required the first-ever use of the alternative path.

The federal agency that issued the license for the troubled Oroville Dam on Monday ordered state officials to convene an independent panel of five experts to assess the damaged dam and issue recommendations.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also ordered the Department of Water Resources, which manages the dam, to perform a “forensic analysis aimed at determining the cause” of the failures in both the main spillway that fractured on Tuesday.

To ensure objectivity, “the forensic analysis must be performed by a fully independent third party with no previous involvement in assessing the spillway structure at this project,” the letter reads.

The state is already taking similar actions, said Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the California Natural Resources Agency.

Ryan Sabalow: 916-321-1264, @ryansabalow

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