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  1. #1
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    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation

    There is a catastrophe looming. The spillway is broken and dam is filling up. It will be full by Saturday.

    This is the 2nd biggest reservoir in CA, after Shasta.

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-16507892_10154860849813213_3936172785582866385_n.jpg
    The damage caused by releasing water.

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-16508717_10155187237888081_5518041302971655804_n.jpg
    The scale of the problem.
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  2. #2
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    Pretty scary stuff. Saw on the news tonight that they most likely are going to let it flow and deal with the damage after the rainy season. This is assuming that the 2 hr test they ran today at 4 pm went ok, guess the next decision is going to be made tomorrow A.M. The Dam does have an emergency spillway in case it is needed; it however, is not controlled by gates and could cause some flooding if used.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthSideOf50 View Post
    Pretty scary stuff. Saw on the news tonight that they most likely are going to let it flow and deal with the damage after the rainy season. This is assuming that the 2 hr test they ran today at 4 pm went ok, guess the next decision is going to be made tomorrow A.M. The Dam does have an emergency spillway in case it is needed; it however, is not controlled by gates and could cause some flooding if used.
    Yep, the emergency spillway is uncontrolled and will release a torrent of water onto the hillside with trees and powerlines.

    At the current rate of inflow and outflow, Oroville is estimated to FILL UP by this weekend.

    https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/02/07...-oroville-dam/

    The current hole is 30 feet deep 180' long 90 feet wide and there is no access to it with heavy machinery. The hillside is steep and there is no road.

    The spillway is taller than Hoover Dam!
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  4. #4
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    Is damage caused by old age or releasing water? Neglect?

  5. #5
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by dchester View Post
    Is damage caused by old age or releasing water? Neglect?
    It was caused by a defective spillway and a high release of 60,000 cfs. That is a high release but the officials thought it was well within design constraints of the spillway.


    The way these things go though, one small crack will degrade quickly.
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  6. #6
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    Here is the 60,000 cfs release and the subsequent crumbling.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The way these things go though, one small crack will degrade quickly.
    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-img_0544.jpg Sup

  8. #8
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    Wow! Thanks for the photos and video.

    The dam and spillway impressive, but mother nature more so of course! There's a huge drainage area into Oroville. Hope the reservoir is not overwhelmed by the rain and snow melt predicted for the next few days.

  9. #9
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    great videos & photos! really like that history channel vid. the last couple of times i headed to downieville from south bay The Google hivemind-traffic-avoidance algorithm sent me up the 99 and through Oroville across to Marysville Rd. The dam is nearby and the drive takes you across the dam top to Bullards Bar Reservoir that has an impressive spillway & viewing area too. Worthwhile drive once or thrice. Listen to the book-on-tape Cadillac Desert if you'd like to hear more about the history of California's water projects.

  11. #11
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    A buddy tells me it's now 28 feet from the top. When it gets to 25, they'll evacuate Oroville.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    It was caused by a defective spillway and a high release of 60,000 cfs. That is a high release but the officials thought it was well within design constraints of the spillway.
    Obviously something was defective; one reporter has commented about not seeing any rebar in the broken concrete of the structure (might just be a reinforcing mesh too small to see at a distance).

    I don't think a 50,000 or 60,000 (I heard 50) cfs release is a "high" release (still a damn lot of water pun intended); I've read that the spillway is designed for anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000 cfs. The Feather River can inflow at 300,000 cfs per one report so yes Houston we have a problem if they can't keep the reservoir drawn down for flood control.

    Google the Oroville Flood of 1997 for some photos of the spillway working at the max.

    BTW +++ on the "Cadillac Desert" being a good read; 25-words-or-less it's about how SoCal stole NorCal's water and got away with it.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    A buddy tells me it's now 28 feet from the top. When it gets to 25, they'll evacuate Oroville.
    It's gonna fill this weekend . Inflow is too great.
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  14. #14
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    Another interesting anecdote is that in the late '70s I was working construction in Sac Town and made friends with a Fed building inspector and we'd have lunch on a weekly basis (straight up guy, he would always pay for lunch because if I paid it could be construed as a bribe).

    Anyway, one thing he got off his chest was that the rumor was that the largest supplier of ready-mix concrete in the area was cheating on the strength qualifications and getting away with it. Passing off "4-sack" as "5-sack" by post-dating the test coupons which would give it more time to cure before the test. (concrete gains strength as it cures so week-older 4-sack appears to be as strong as 5-sack) The ready-mix company was using 20% less cement which was worth millions $$$. I think he said this concrete was for the paving being used for the I5 project.

    Wonder if some of this stuff was used at Oroville?
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  15. #15
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    The Oroville dam has all kinds of controversy surrounding it starting from the day it was thought up.

    In similar news. The sinkhole in Grass Valley is still a problem and is starting to undermine Hwy 49.

    Massive sinkhole prompts state of emergency in Grass Valley | ABC10.com

    Grass Valley Sink Hole Raising Concerns For Highway 49 « CBS Sacramento

  16. #16
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    that's a big hole!!

    not so sure about the concrete scandal above. the State has some stringent test all along the way. and during construction, they take samples every 150 yards and make and break cylinders at 7 14 28 days to make sure the strength curves match those in the certified test batch papers.

    i do know first hand a concrete company tried to sneak in sub par recycled aggregates. this was in SF. the FEDs got involved and people went off in handcuffs. that company doesnt exist anymore.
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  17. #17
    fc
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    Quote of the day: "I'd open her up."

    Update here: DWR: Test releases further erode Oroville Dam spillway

    The emergency spillway is on the north side and will put an unrestricted flow of water down a wooded hillside.
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  18. #18
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    I'd be packing if I lived down stream.

  19. #19
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    Dam Breaks in Elko, NV

    A Dam in Elko just failed due to heavy run-off. See attached news video

    Broken Dam Floods Homes in Nevada - NBC News
    Anybody can ski the groomed

  20. #20
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    As long as the damage doesn't progress upward this is not really that big of a deal. The area under the spillway clearly is bedrock (minus that upper part of soil), and the dam itself is a good distance away from the spillway. Yeah they're going to be needing some more concrete to repair it once we're out of the rainy season, but as long as that knickpoint where the break first starts doesn't migrate up to the dam itself Oroville etc downstream will be fine.

    Edited to add: There will clearly be substantial cost involved in rebuilding the spillway so I'm not intending to make light of what is a serious situation, but the OMG evacuate is not a real concern from my understanding of the situation.

  21. #21
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    edit: See fc's post below about the emergency spillway location.

  22. #22
    fc
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    Emergency spillway info and photos. It's just a cement gutter. It will screw up that hillside, road, powerlines, access to fix the main spillway.

    It will be disaster if that comes into play.

    fc

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-orovilledam.jpg
    map

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-oroville-dam-spillway2.jpg
    water route

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-projectphotosalpha45_02.jpg
    emergency spillway
    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-projectphotosrr11.jpg
    spillway


    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-oroville_spillway-1997_flood_1.jpg
    main spillway on 1997 at full CFS output.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-projectphotosll06.jpg  

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  23. #23
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    Okay that's better than what I could find regarding the emergency spillway.

  24. #24
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    My prediction: They'll have to release massive water flow on the main spillway in the next couple of days and destroy the bottom half of that spillway.

    The top spillway is suspect anyway so that whole thing has to be rebuilt.

    $1billion dollars to repair. But if there's no lives lost and damage to property, then it's not the worst scenario.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    My prediction: They'll have to release massive water flow on the main spillway in the next couple of days and destroy the bottom half of that spillway.
    That is what they are going to do.

    Officials with the Department of Water Resources, which operates the dam, stressed again Wednesday that they believe the dam itself is safe and doesn’t pose a threat to downstream populations, a view echoed by outside experts consulted by The Sacramento Bee.

    “We do not believe there’s an imminent danger to the dam, or the flood control ... gates that we operate, or the public,” said Acting Director Bill Croyle.

    Good coverage at the Sac Bee:
    Oroville Dam spillway hole will continue to erode, state official says | The Sacramento Bee

  26. #26
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    This is from KRCR's facebook page at about 11:30 PST, presumably after they said f*ck it and cranked the release rate back up. Spillway no longer playing much of a role... lower half of it, anyway.

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-capture.jpg

  27. #27
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    First hand knowledge from a superintendent for DWR says they'll just let the flow go over the damaged area on the spillway.

  28. #28
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker View Post
    First hand knowledge from a superintendent for DWR says they'll just let the flow go over the damaged area on the spillway.
    Right on. Thanks for the intel.

    That bottom spillway will be gone. But they have no choice really. Wonder what the CFS will be?
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  29. #29
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    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-16508366_10210067486657893_4135697751806041883_n-1-.jpg

    The spillway and the land under it has been sacrificed. There is no choice in the matter now. Crazy. The scale of this hole will be epic™
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	16508366_10210067486657893_4135697751806041883_n (1).jpg 
Views:	188 
Size:	31.8 KB 
ID:	1120532

    The spillway and the land under it has been sacrificed. There is no choice in the matter now. Crazy. The scale of this hole will be epic™
    Yuge.

    Epic.

    Disaster.

    Build a spillway (wall).

    Making California great again! =P

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    can we dismantle those concrete block ramps at the bottom and install them as kickers at Demo Braille trail before they get destroyed?

  32. #32
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    Check out this video. Looks like mother nature decided to skip the bottom part of the spillway for fresh terrain! https://www.facebook.com/bcsonews/vi...9/?pnref=story

  33. #33
    fc
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    Here's the box score.

    https://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?OROName:  Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 1.59.16 PM (2).jpg
Views: 1841
Size:  113.5 KB

    The dam is at 901 feet. We are now at 882 feet, up 7 feet since midnight. They are releasing water on that broken spillway now at 44,000 cfs. But the inflow from the rain is 150,000 cfs currently.

    It's pretty damn close. They are playing a math game now of how much to release so it doesn't overflow.
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  34. #34
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    I suspect that DWR will be forced to release lots of water down this spillway and destroy it to prevent worse problems. The biggest fear for the engineers is not the multmillion dollar repair cost, it is water undermining the uphill side of the hole and moving the failure up towards the spillway control structure. If that fails, there will be serious flooding all the way to the delta.

    They will get a few days without rain this weekend, but the Climate Prediction Center's 1-10 and 8-14 day outlooks show the area again very wet. This is a very serious situation. Back a few years ago, this dam almost became a rapid on the Feather River as over 300,000 cfs flowed into a lake that could only release about 100 K cfs.

    I'm wondering when the national news networks will pick up on this and the danger that this failure poses for the valley. Sacramento is at the second highest flood risk (probability and consequences) after only New Orleans. Stay tuned.

  35. #35
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    Here is a graph of water level from cdec. Not bored enough to extend this out but it looks like somewhere around tomorrow evening it would hit 900 feet, assuming it remains on this nice linear trend. Still raining like a mofo here in Sac so I would think we're going to have large inflows for at least the next day +. Good thing they have an emergency spillway I guess?

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-oro.jpg

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddyKilowatt View Post
    This is from KRCR's facebook page at about 11:30 PST, presumably after they said f*ck it and cranked the release rate back up. Spillway no longer playing much of a role... lower half of it, anyway.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.JPG 
Views:	246 
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    Is it just me, or does that look like a big beer mug with foam on top?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Is it just me, or does that look like a big beer mug with foam on top?
    Yep. I see it

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Is it just me, or does that look like a big beer mug with foam on top?
    I see boobies.
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    All the folks complaining about the reservoirs being drained "too early" a few weeks ago - this is why. When they shut down outflow to assess the damage they lost critical discharge time and now way more water is coming in than can be released. Inflow just hit 160,000 cfs with an outflow of 40,000 cfs. I'm seeing an unconfirmed report/calculation that 2 am Saturday is when the water will top the emergency spillway.

  40. #40
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    I'm curious, has anyone seen any maps or graphics showing what the projected inundation area would be for a total failure of the Oroville Dam?
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  41. #41
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    Spoiler Alert: It's basically the whole valley south of Chico.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomchakabowwow View Post
    not so sure about the concrete scandal above. the State has some stringent test all along the way. and during construction, they take samples every 150 yards and make and break cylinders at 7 14 28 days to make sure the strength curves match those in the certified test batch papers.
    This was 40 years ago. That was the beauty of the scam; the 7 day test was really done on 14 day concrete and so on. Plus the inspectors where in on the deal; $$$ or trips to Hawaii. And the evidence was being destroyed by the testing. Perfect! My friend was discussing this to illustrate the corruption endemic to the construction industry. Organised crime isn't just Atlantic City and Vegas.

    BTW the project I was working on the previous contractor had gotten the boot for requiring kickbacks from the employees and I personally got a friendly "free" shakedown from an electrical inspector.
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  44. #44
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    Water coming into Oroville: 176,000 cfs
    Current Mississippi River at St Louis flow: 190,000 cfs

    That is seriously impressive.

    Edit: Whoops, now it's 185,000 cfs.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    The full inundation maps appear to be in Appendix B to that report, but after tracking that down, here's what's at the link:

    "You don't have permission to access this document.
    This document is Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII).
    The public may file a CEII request with FERC under 18 C.F.R. 388.113."

    Nothing to see here, citizen! Please continue about your business.

  46. #46
    fc
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    This is the spillway today at 35,000 cfs. I think they're gonna peg it to 70,000 cfs just to avoid an overflow.

    OT: The Oroville Reservoir situation-b.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Is it just me, or does that look like a big beer mug with foam on top?
    LMAO, good one dude.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I see boobies.
    Dang, great eyes to see birds in that pic
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    This was 40 years ago. That was the beauty of the scam; the 7 day test was really done on 14 day concrete and so on. Plus the inspectors where in on the deal; $$$ or trips to Hawaii. And the evidence was being destroyed by the testing. Perfect! My friend was discussing this to illustrate the corruption endemic to the construction industry. Organised crime isn't just Atlantic City and Vegas.

    BTW the project I was working on the previous contractor had gotten the boot for requiring kickbacks from the employees and I personally got a friendly "free" shakedown from an electrical inspector.
    I remember getting kicked off of a project, in Mill Valley, in 1997 for calling OSHA on the contractor. Owner builder, on a multi million dollar single family residence, was a piece of work. Everyone thanked me because all the safety violations were fixed ASAP...I hate dirty contractors

  50. #50
    fc
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    Watching the briefing now. They're gonna ramp up the spillway to 55,000 cfs. Inflows are peaking at 190,000 cfs since the storm is significant and warm, with a lot of snow melt.

    So the officials believe the emergency spillway will come in to use on Saturday. They are trying to minimize and avoid it but it looks like it's gonna happen. They have tractors now clearing trees and dirt around the emergency spillway at 901 feet. We're at 884 feet right now.

    The emergency spillway is a concrete lip and then a hillside/ravine with a lot oak trees and dirt. There will be a lot of debris flow and erosion.

    Hatcheries downstream with millions of fish are at risk.

    https://www.periscope.tv/w/1vOxwYneNMMGB#

    fc
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