Dam Trouble

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7SacredPools

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 13, 2017 - 08:23am PT
http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/12/us/california-oroville-dam-failure/index.html
c wilmot

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:24am PT
Dam it
WBraun

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:44am PT
Nice analysis Dingus and to the point.

I feared for all those people's property they had to evacuate if that emergency spillway broke down ......
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:50am PT
madamimadam
and i'm not very wise
eveneve
said it rolling her eyes
--mfm
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:51am PT
ALL dams in California are "flood control" dams, it is the only way they get federal financing. Flood control dams are usually operated at levels far below their capacity.

ALL dams in California have contracts with water users generating the majority of the revenue for the dams. These contracts are multiyear so the probability of low runoff years has to be folded into the operations.

Environmental regulations require specific flow rates along the rivers.

Current California climate varies from the historic period (generally 1910-1960) that was the basis for the dam design and operation.

To the extent that the dam operators are "rolling the dice with lady luck," an important mitigation is regional forecasting on the decadal scale which is built on our climate modeling capabilities. Important not only for informing the operation of the dams, but also in deciding what future projects are economically viable.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:51am PT
Read the book "The Emerald Mile" for some perspective.
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:13am PT
"Devestate the entire Central Valley" - What does that mean? Will farming lands be unable to produce for the season? Fruit/Nut trees bee killed? Good Old Erosion reducing trees swept away? Cities/towns/rural lands flooded to the point of catastrophic level? Roadways and bridges washed away????
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:20am PT
here's an interesting link

http://www.water.ca.gov/orovillerelicensing/docs/FEIR_080722/AppendixA/Extracted_Comments/N0007_SierraClub_FriendsRiver_SYRCL_Pages_3-53.pdf
John M

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:21am PT
Its been light for more then 3 hours. Has anyone seen pics of the recent situation? I can't find anything. The news reporting on this has been atrocious. They keep saying the dam could fail, and then they back up a bit and say.. oh. but just the emergency spillway.

Plus some keep saying its a boil, but my understanding from the levies is a boil is when water is seeping through or under the levy and its my understanding that the water was flowing over the emergency spillway and eroding near the base. Erosion that was dangerous, but still not a boil.

Has anyone seen pics from this morning? Everything that I have seen is yesterdays pics.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:21am PT
1862-It happens on average every 100 years. Nothing abnormal per the long term climate history of the west coast. If rationalists were in charge of flood protection/water usage then more dams would have been built and the existing ones scrupously maintained along with the population explosion of the golden state.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:23am PT
http://www.kcra.com/
WBraun

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:23am PT
There's only so much money for everything to go around and politics play a huge part of it especially when;

The US manufactures so many bullsh!t phony wars to divert a lot of money to the Defense industry.

It's ultimately your faults for being soo stoopid to constantly letting this happen and still going on as we speak .....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:26am PT
It's ultimately your faults for being soo stoopid...

you don't have any role in this, of course, except to be a public scold...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:31am PT
Good point Werner.

Plug the hole with mothballed military vehicles.

#f*#kthemilitaryindustrialcomplex
John M

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:32am PT
Sorry Dingus.. I deleted my post because I didn't want to argue the point. I still disagree with your wording, but have pneumonia and just don't want to argue. You are substantially correct in you description of the order of things, but I still believe that there is no way that they didn't know that water was going to go over the emergency spillway. That was planned.
John M

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:35am PT
the news pictures now show no water coming from any hole near the emergency spillway, so there was no boil. The water was from over the top, not from under or through.
chill

climber
The fat part of the bell-curve
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:56am PT
you don't have any role in this, of course, except to be a public scold...
Thanks Ed, I was trying to think of how to respond to Werner's comment and you got it.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:58am PT
*
I've been following this hour by hour for 3-days. I was there on Saturday, ok? They took the choice to use the emergency spillway. They didn't have to.

Locals have been following this news hour by hour too..I'm not a dam operator or a hydrologist ..but ..
the dam was full,more water was coming in than going out and the spillway was damaged.. They made a call..

Damed if you do.. and.. damed it you don't....

Past history, big flood.
Downtown Sacramento
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atmospheric-rivers-california-megaflood-lessons-from-forgotten-catastrophe/
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:59am PT
hey there say, ... thanks for all the shares here...


say, as this, rick:

1862-It happens on average every 100 years. Nothing abnormal per the long term climate history of the west coast.

i was wondering about that, too, the last few years...
thanks for sharing...
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:07am PT
*
Kingtut..Those are my words and thoughts.

Edit: i am not quoting any officials..and I'm using a familiar quote...Damn if you do and damn if you don't...
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:20am PT
*
Just remember this situation the next time the water guys start talking about building yet more dams, like at Sites and Temperance Flat.

That quote is exactly my thoughts on building more nuclear power plants..
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:34am PT
you don't have any role in this, of course, except to be a public scold...

If he was scolding Trump you'd be saying he's being a concerned citizen.
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:37am PT
There are known, written standards on how to operate and manage dams.

Oroville has, apparently, had listed deficiencies that went unaddressed for up to 12 years. Unacceptable for a severe-consequence dam (have you seen the inundation maps?)

The main spillway had holes that should have been addressed long before it had to be used. There was no reason that the main spillway should have failed initially. Without that failure, the emergency spillway would not have had to been utilized.

The root cause is poor management decisions in the past when they had the opportunity to address them. perhaps along with that is lack of budget attention from above - up to possibly the CA legislature.

Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:39am PT
There's only so much money for everything to go around and politics play a huge part of it especially when;

$68B train to nowhere.

Back to the dam, any experts here want to chime in on the subject as to why the emergency spillway has nothing but dirt underneath it...

Also, if a big sinkhole collapsed under the main spillway does that mean water has been leaking under there for a while?

Just curious.

nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:46am PT
*
*
Oroville has, apparently, had listed deficiencies that went unaddressed for up to 12 years.
Exactly.....i posted this up yesterday and Hooblie reposted the text.

Edit: The environmental Liberals called the alarm..... Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/12/oroville-dam-feds-and-state-officials-ignored-warnings-12-years-ago/

*
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:51am PT
I posted this article on the California thread back on Jan 13, 2017 but might be worth reposting here...

NYT article on the great flood of 1862 which resulted in tragic loss of life and an estimated $10M in damage...that was a lot of $$ back then...
http://www.nytimes.com/1862/01/21/news/the-great-flood-in-california-great-destruction-of-property-damage-10000000.html

The rainy season commenced on the 8th of November, and for four weeks, with scarcely any intermission, the rain continued to fall very gently in San Francisco, but in heavy showers in the interior. According to the statement of a Grass Valley paper, nine inches of rain fell there in thirty-six hours on the 7th and 8th inst. Whether, it is possible that so much rain could fall in thirty-six hours I will not decide; but it is certain that, the amount was great, for the next day the river-beds were full almost to the hilltops. The North Fork of the American River at Auburn rose thirty-five feet, and in many other mountain streams the rise was almost as great. On the 9th the flood reached the low land of the Sacramento Valley.

For more info on ARkStorms, see the USGS Open File Report 2010-1312. Note Appendix A of this report summarizes damages/loss of agricultural crop, livestock and field by county based on 2009 $$$ due to a major ARkStorm.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1312/
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:51am PT
"[1]Back to the dam, any experts here want to chime in on the subject as to why the emergency spillway has nothing but dirt underneath it...

[2]Also, if a big sinkhole collapsed under the main spillway does that mean water has been leaking under there for a while?"

2- not necessarily. Could be they used precast concrete panels without sealing joints, or had cracking that got big enough to leak through. Any of a bunch of reasons that the failure could have occurred.

1- it looks to me like the issue is the pool at the end of the spillway - the turbulence eating out under the end of the spillway. I don't know what design standards were in the 1960's when this was built, but it is possible they don't have sufficient (size & amount) rock to break up the energy from the water at the end of the emergency spillway.
sempervirens

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 11:02am PT
This was forwarded to me. It originates from Calfire.


CONTACT: 530-268-5869
RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Spillway Incident Press Conference

Oroville, Calif. – There will be a press conference at noon today, February 13, 2017. It will be held at the State Parks Headquarters, 400 Glen Drive Oroville, CA 95966.

Lake conditions, including lake levels, inflows, and outflows can be obtained via a recorded message at 530-534-2307. More information is available on the California Data Exchange Center.

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 13, 2017 - 11:03am PT
hey there say, nita... yep, me too... trying to follow this for some time
now, too... floods and rain, etc...

i may not be in calif, anymore, but my love for it is still there...

say, i was SHOCKED when i learned that no one EVER
taught us, in school about the SACRAMENTO WEIR,
and what happened to the sacramento valley, way back when,
and WHY it was built...

man oh man... i sure learned a lot from just wondering about
how folks were going to be, from all this... :O


say, once again, thank you to all that are sharing here...
i keep jumping back here, in between my day...
so much to learn about all this,
though, sadly, that does not stop the trouble...

:(



thank you again all, for caring to share...
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Feb 13, 2017 - 02:03pm PT
I've got to start dinner right now but
Here is the link from the 'Sacto' Bee; about the Weir
(Ha! not, Bobby? Once The only well known Californian Weir)

http://www.sacbee.com/news/weather/article126253529.html

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Feb 13, 2017 - 02:30pm PT
When the water does go down I bet there aint much of that spillway left. Hopefully it is still there.
couchmaster

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 03:47pm PT


Sorry, did I say Trump? I meant it was Bush's fault Jody.

Bush's fault.

August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 13, 2017 - 03:52pm PT
[posted on another thread before I saw this one]

The erosion on the emergency spillway is a design issue, not a maintenance issue. That spillway is nominally designed for 350,000 cfs. But a flow of 6,000 to 12,000 cfs for a few hours caused enough damage to order an evacuation. A little bit of maintenance would not have fixed that. The Mercury News article on this was pretty good. The spillway should have been lined with large boulders to prevent the erosion that happened.

Since emergency spillways are rarely, if ever, used. Experiencing some damage during use (and then repairing as necessarily) can be cheaper than a more expensive design while still protecting the dam from failure. But if a flow that is only 5% or so of the design flow causes serious damage, then it wasn't designed/built correctly.

As far as large dams that would provide flood protection for the Sacramento and its tributaries, the good sites are pretty much all taken. The only remaining site that I'm aware of that has much potential is Auburn. Local politics, combined with the environmental loss, combined with the fact that congress would never allocate Federal money for it, probably ain't going to happen.

There has been too much development, too close to rivers. That makes it really expensive to provide flood protection. The lake level in reservoirs could be kept at lower levels which would provide additional flood protection. But then farmers would go ballistic if the state flipped back into a drought.

All of the current proposed dam projects that I'm aware of would only be for water supply during droughts. Having an off-river site that requires the water to be pumped into it does not provide flood protection. I'm not ideologically opposed to this on principal. However, I am opposed to spending tax payer money to provide subsidized water to farmers.

For where northern CA is at, for flood protection, it really comes down to building and maintaining levees.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 13, 2017 - 03:59pm PT
"[1]Back to the dam, any experts here want to chime in on the subject as to why the emergency spillway has nothing but dirt underneath it...

As I just posted, if you only use an emergency spillway once every 50 years or so, having some damage and repairs can be a reasonable strategy. But clearly not in this case.

[2]Also, if a big sinkhole collapsed under the main spillway does that mean water has been leaking under there for a while?"

You mean the gated spillway not the emergency spillway? That could be, I know less about that. I did see a press conference where this was a known/expected issue and that the spillway is inspected every summer and occasionally repaired in order to prevent just this problem.

2- not necessarily. Could be they used precast concrete panels without sealing joints, or had cracking that got big enough to leak through. Any of a bunch of reasons that the failure could have occurred.

Is this still for the gate spillway or the emergency spillway?

If it is the emergency spillway:

The concrete that is part of the spillway where the flow leaves the lake, isn't the issue. It is erosion downstream of that. The downstream area should have been lined with boulders. If it erodes back up to the concrete spillway, the concrete will fail. But if the foundation is eroded, it won't have mattered what type of concrete was used.

If it is the gated spillway, I'm less sure. I don't think you can prevent a little bit of water from flowing underneath the concrete and causing erosion. The more important strategy is to inspect for this and repair as necessary. But maybe there was some issue with the concrete joints.

1- it looks to me like the issue is the pool at the end of the spillway - the turbulence eating out under the end of the spillway. I don't know what design standards were in the 1960's when this was built, but it is possible they don't have sufficient (size & amount) rock to break up the energy from the water at the end of the emergency spillway.

They could have brought in big enough rocks, but it would have cost money. Even if the rocks didn't prevent all damage, it would have slowed the rate of damage. When the dam went through the 50 year re-licensing process, it should have been required at that point (if not before).
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:23pm PT
By Thursday of next week, if the weather forecast can be trusted, California could be less it's largest dam.
John M

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:24pm PT
Anyone know why they aren't letting people return home?
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:30pm PT
California is not unique in this regard, but is known for deferring hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure maintenance, until a real emergency occurs. Wait until someone's baby drowns, and there are big lawsuits, then it will get fixed. That's the way we usually do things here. Governor Brown would rather invest multi-billions in bullet train, rather than divert the money to fix roads and dams.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:33pm PT
So they are running less water down the main spillway not because it has a giant hole but because it threatens power lines?! Screw the power, let's flood 200,000 people instead. Sometimes you really have to wonder over the decisions made.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:40pm PT
Hey, let's build more dams so that they can fail too.
SalNichols

Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:40pm PT
DWR says that the main Feather River has a peak capacity of around 150k cfs. It gets sketchy beyond that as levees begin to fail. He said they could go to 130k cfs with the damaged spillway if they need to, but they were operating at 100k cfs, holding the 30k in reserve as a safety for downstream.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 13, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
Right Tami, but if they had a series of dams (well designed, we'll built, we'll maintained) up the Feather River it would reduce the chance of over capacity and failure. Not to mention renewable energy and water storage for thirsty residents.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Feb 13, 2017 - 05:41pm PT
Anyone know why they aren't letting people return home?

Maybe we learned something from the St. Francis Dam?
WBraun

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 05:56pm PT
Whoa !!!!
Caveman

climber
Cumberland Plateau
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
Can't be good! That is one big pile of fill! Surely there is some rock in it?
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:30pm PT
The damage if an earthquake hit sometime in the next week to 10 days would be huge.

The current batch of newb Kali transplants haven't seen a solid act of California water nature in a bit. Might do 'em good to see the meaning of the Real California Obsession.

Like DMT, it cracks me up that So cal is more aware of this situation than SF, because...water is life.

Cheers

LS

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:32pm PT
The water coming out of the power plant race is muddy and has been for a couple of days.

Interesting observation, DMT you know why? Maybe the power plant is releasing more water than ever and eroding the old river channel???
John M

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:44pm PT
Edit: DMT was posting as I was looking for this article.


The hydroelectric plant is closed. There is no water flowing through it as far as I understand. So that muddy water could just be water from the main spillway that is filling back up river because there is so much volume.

https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/02/07/engineers-assess-spillway-problem-at-oroville-dam/

One of the biggest challenges engineers and work crews face is how to clear the Thermalito Diversion Pool immediately below the wrecked spillway of a large volume of concrete debris and sediment that have dammed the waterway and forced closure of the hydroelectric plant at the base of Oroville Dam.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:44pm PT
I read / heard they closed down the generator pipes to protect equipment from damage. Which means even more water has to pass over the top.

(Ops: my internet is on slow... someone else already mentioned...)
Edge

Trad climber
Betwixt and Between Nederland & Boulder, CO
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:45pm PT
If the power plant is off line, is the flow of water under the dam also shut down? Then wouldn't the backwash of muddy sediment from the main spillway migrate to the base of the dam?

Just guessing (with much concern) from the safety of 8100'.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Feb 13, 2017 - 06:54pm PT
Why would it be muddy?


I had heard a part of the release strategy is the power house which is maxing out on its release.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 07:52pm PT
There's nothing dumber than a news outlet

Boy, howdy! Saw CNN's correspondent tonight report on the

"100,000 cubic square inches of water."

You can't make that sh!t up! Dude needs to go back and get his GED. Woot!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:01pm PT
The muddy water is sediment from the erosion of the spillway.

This. When the spillway water and sediments hit the river it's pressure and head are pushing the water in both directions - downriver and upriver towards the dam. So long as they're running high flows over the spillway there will be a back pressure towards the dam. If they are running the turbines then the turbine effluent is coming out below the brown sediment-laden water and mixing with the sediment load fast enough to not see any clear water (but in the picture it doesn't look like they are running water through the turbines).

Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Feb 13, 2017 - 08:56pm PT
Is the main spillway down to bedrock yet? Is there any bedrock below the emergency spillway?

Great image DMT.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:15pm PT
Is the main spillway down to bedrock yet? Is there any bedrock below the emergency spillway?

Doesn't look like it or it has a ways to go yet.

A bad situation all the way around as they try to stay ahead of the next couple of months' rain. If they get behind at any point then they'll be overtopping the auxiliary spillway again. Going to be an expensive affair putting humpty-dumpty back together again no matter what.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 13, 2017 - 09:18pm PT
Obliviously this is one of Browns manuvers.

That bullet train rehersal would'a fix this sh#t.

Happie sez he needs to get a multimeter😀
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:32pm PT
Is the main spillway down to bedrock yet? Is there any bedrock below the emergency spillway?


Here are some closeup photos that show the bedrock beneath the spillway which is Jurassic age greenschist facies meta volcanic rocks of the Smartville Ophiolite complex. Note that the dam is not located on relatively solid granitic rocks but heterogenous, highly fractured and sheared metamorphic rocks similar to the rock units of Mt Dana. This complex fracture network represents planes of weakness along which the bedrock is susceptible to erosion and possibly catastrophic failure.



More info can be found on this blogsite...
https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-10

Here is the geologic map of the Oroville Dam area...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:40pm PT
Wait, they didn't put any rebar in that concrete? Was the low bidder from Egypt?
It also shows evidence of not being a continuous pour. WTF?
john hansen

climber
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:45pm PT
It is really surprising that there is no re bar.

EDIT

I see the rebar now,.


Water is incredibly powerful.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:49pm PT
In the photo above you can clearly see rebar.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:52pm PT
Looks like there's rebar to me, but obviously not enough of it. It's also surprising that they didn't take the entire spillway path down to bedrock and then build it back up. Given that they just poured over earth to the right of that bedrock, you'd have thought they would have at least sunk piers down to bedrock under the siderails.

Maybe it should have been built more like a bridge with side piers to bedrock and connecting beams spanning between the piers under the spillway. Pretty much cutting corners no matter how you look at it.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 13, 2017 - 10:58pm PT
I'm trying to draw attention to the underlying bedrock geology and all you guys want to talk about is rebar ;-(
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 13, 2017 - 11:06pm PT
That rebar job is a joke. If it was designed right and done right it
would not have failed. It looks like it is at least a foot apart, not
heavy enough, and too close to the surface. Besides, for that type of
job there should be a lower and an upper cage the way runways are done.
The taxpayers take it in the shorts again, as usual. And what about the
cold joints and the spalling? It's a complete fiasco.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 13, 2017 - 11:22pm PT
uncoated steel rebar only retains its strength when sealed in concrete

cold joints, stress cracks, and spalling allow moisture and air to penetrate and cause corrosion

the corrosion products expand 5-10x inside the concrete and create further spalling

this process accelerates as structural integrity degrades

there are procedures for repairing such damage before it gets away from you
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 13, 2017 - 11:40pm PT
Geology Professor Jeff Mount from UC Davis, who was interviewed on NPR this morning RE
the Oroville dam, gave this testimony before the House Committee on the
Implementation of the Endangered Species Act in 1997. Jeff's testimony,
which had very little to do with the ESA, focused on breaking the Cycle of
Serial Engineering of our rivers....

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 14, 2017 - 12:18am PT
They probably did to some degree, but it doesn't look like they bothered with much compacting under the spillway.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Feb 14, 2017 - 02:05am PT
Reminds me a bit of the Glen Canyon fiasco back in 83.
Besides a lot of other mistakes the "cavitation" was determined to be the factor in the 'spillway' getting trashed and a major contributor to them almost loosing the dam (though they wouldn't admit that).
I see similar results from the Oroville spillway with that hole dug into and through the cement.

Oh and I'm thinking there's gonna be a lot of gold accessible in the upcoming months:-)
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Feb 14, 2017 - 05:41am PT
Whoa, Delhi, that's a good point!

I hope that the weather allows them to get the sh#t back together. The book "The Emerald Mile" that Donini mentioned up thread is good background for all of this.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Feb 14, 2017 - 06:24am PT
[quote]The compressive strength of concrete is tremendous. Incredible force is required to crush concrete. However, concrete has relatively weak tensile strength. Far less force is required to crack concrete by bending or twisting it than is required to crush concrete. To increase the tensile strength of concrete, reinforcing bar — rebar — is used to increase the tensile strength of concrete.

A variety of rebar lengths and diameters are available, but there are only six common types of rebar: European (a carbon, manganese, silicon, etc. alloy); carbon steel (basic “black” rebar); galvanized; epoxy coated; glass-fiber-reinforced-polymer (GFRP); and stainless steel. The different types of rebar each unique strengths and weaknesses.

Types of Rebar
European Rebar – The strength of European rebar is its cost. Made principally of manganese, European rebar is the least resistant type of rebar with respect to bending. While easy to work with, it is generally not recommended for use in areas that experience earthquakes nor for projects that require substantial structural integrity from its rebar.
Carbon Steel Rebar – The most common rebar, “black” bar is used on every type and scale of project with few exceptions. The biggest weakness of black rebar is that it corrodes. When rebar corrodes, it expands cracking and breaking the concrete around it. For situations in which the rebar might be exposed to humidity or water saturation, there are better options than black rebar. However, with respect to is value/tensile strength ratio, black rebar is the best rebar available.
Epoxy-Coated Rebar – Epoxy-coated rebar is black rebar with an epoxy coat. It has the same textile strength, but is 70 to 1,700 times more resistant to corrosion. However, the epoxy coating is incredibly delicate. The greater the damage to the coating, the less resistant to corrosion.
Galvanized Rebar – Galvanized rebar is only forty times more resistant to corrosion than black rebar, but it is more difficult to damage the coating of galvanized rebar. In that respect, it has more value than epoxy-coated rebar. However, it is about 40% more expensive than epoxy-coated rebar.
Glass-Fiber-Reinforced-Polymer (GFRP) – GFRP is a composite much like carbon fiber. As a result, field bends are not permitted when using GFRP. However, it will not corrode, period. In that respect, GFRP is an unparalleled concrete reinforcement bar. While it costs ten times as much as epoxy coated rebar per pound, it is extremely light, so the cost is only about double when considering talking linear feet.
Stainless Steel Rebar – Stainless steel rebar is the most expensive reinforcing bar available, about eight times the price of epoxy-coated rebar. It is also the best rebar available for most projects. However, using stainless steel in all but the most unique of circumstances is often overkill. But, for those who have a reason to use it, stainless steel rebar 1,500 times more resistant to corrosion than black bar; it is more resistant to damage than any of the other corrosive-resistant or corrosive-proof types or rebar; and it can be bent in the field.

 See more at: http://www.bnproducts.com/blog/what-are-the-different-types-of-rebar-and-why-do-types-matter/#sthash.EpCA6AQV.dpuf[/quote]

Define "often overkill"
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 14, 2017 - 06:39am PT
I'm trying to draw attention to the underlying bedrock geology and all you guys want to talk about is rebar ;-(

Nobody gives a schist.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 14, 2017 - 07:04am PT
i like rocks. up to two syllables is best
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 14, 2017 - 07:12am PT
Just wait until the dollar implodes.
WBraun

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 07:15am PT
Best video feed of helicopter and repair work being done NOW

https://www.facebook.com/KCRA3/videos/10155029133956514/
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 14, 2017 - 08:12am PT
The whole thing is a slow motion train wreck, at least 12 years in the making.Now they make these confused half measures of emergency repair. Good for the less discerning glued to the cameras, but a charade. They'd be better off with divers and mini subs unsealing the diversion tunnels.
pb

Sport climber
Sonora Ca
Feb 14, 2017 - 08:16am PT
any rebar in the whitehouse?
stunewberry

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Feb 14, 2017 - 08:25am PT
Looks like they're dumping them into a drain by the parking lot that ran a lot more than it was designed for. So I don't think that's staging.

clifff

Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Feb 14, 2017 - 09:21am PT
Cavitation almost took out the Glen Canyon Dam in 1983 and it is the same process that is causing problems for Oroville. They had decades to heed the lesson but failed to do so.

https://www.google.com/search?q=dam+colorado+river+cavitation+&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/13/us/oroville-dam.html?_r=0
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 14, 2017 - 09:40am PT
So T Tradster what is that rock unit at the dam? Motherlode Jurassic 'slate'? Or perhaps serpentinite?

From what I can tell it is green schist facies metamorphic volcanic rocks. The geologic unit on the geologic map at the dam is "mv" that is identified in the Legend as volcanic rocks of the Jurassic Smartville Ophiolite Complex. So this is not "Serpentine" but mainly schist derived from the burial and metamorphosis of volcanic rocks that were originally deposited in an island arc complex along the N American margin during the Jurassic (150-200 MYA) in a tectonic setting similar to modern Japan.

This is what an idealized ophiolite sequence looks like...


So the rocks at the dam site are roughly equivalent to the "Pillow lavas" in the above sequence which would be tholeiite basalts that were deposited on the ocean floor possibly in a back arc spreading center within the island arc complex. When the upper mantle melts (e.g., at an oceanic spreading ridge) it produces tholeiitic basalt.



Genesis of the Smartville arc-ophiolite, Sierra Nevada foothills, California
American Journal of Science Vol 280-A, 1980, p 329-344.

Abstract
Rare earth element analyses of metavolcanic rocks from the Smartville, Calif. ophiolite divide the uniform suite of pillowed and massive lavas into the lower part consisting of massive, brecciated tholeiites, an intrusive dike-sill complex, and part of a plutonic suite. The tholeiites are light REE depleted with a (Ce)N range of 6.5 to 26.0 and (Yb)N of 6.0 to 30.0; it is suggested that the tholeiites were produced by partial melting of a LREE depleted source similar to MORB. The upper part of the volcanic pile is comprised of basaltic-andesitic flows and interbedded coarse to fine volcanic sediments; these 'calc-alkaline' rocks are light REE enriched with the (Ce)N range of 17.0-28.0 and (Yb)N of 8.0 to 12.0. Finally, petrographic investigations of volcanic sediments and sulfide ore deposits in the lava show that the ophiolite formed near a group of active submarine and subareal volcanoes.


In a tectonically active region like California, "bedrock" can be a messy thing ;-)
The real question is the structural integrity of these highly fractured and sheared meta volcanic rocks in the presence of dynamic loading and unloading within the reservoir due to weather events and dam operation and the ability of these rocks to withstand the erosive capacity of the high flow rates ~100K cfs that are being released from the dam in order to lower the water level in anticipation of storms due to arrive later this week.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Feb 14, 2017 - 09:59am PT
I admire the Butte Cnty Sherriff for being a stand-up guy. Just the day before all the 'experts' were saying there was no problem, no worries...blah blah blah.

Big call to evacuate all those thousands of people when the 'experts' are saying no worries. He showed good courage and did the right thing. If that thing had cut loose, there would have been thousands of people killed.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Feb 14, 2017 - 10:19am PT
Dang, ophiolite sequences are really cool! But the dam is built on green schist? They are probably fuked. Let the water out. Now.
John M

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:05am PT
I wonder why they are using helicopters to fill those holes near the parking area? Why not use trucks and tractors? There must be a road to that section from the other side. Then they would have the helicopters for below the spillway.
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:06am PT
I was wondering the same thing, but I suspect that any access for trucks to that side was washed out.

Google Earth shows only 1 paved road which goes under the aux spillway and was washed out.

There is a graveled road on that side, but it may not be suitable for trucks and it looked like the aux spillway run off wiped it out as well.
Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:15am PT
Here's a video that explains the Oroville Dam situation pretty well. I apologize if this has already been shared as my quick glance of the thread might have missed it.

https://www.facebook.com/fox40/videos/10154394570967039/
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:29am PT
*
I wonder why they are using helicopters to fill those holes near the parking area? Why not use trucks and tractors?
John, They are using trucks, tractors and helicopters...

Not sure if thse pictures have been posted.
http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2017/02/14/oroville-dam-site/

Mei, That Fox video is well worth the watch..and does explain the dam situation pretty well.
John M

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:41am PT
Hi Nita, Yes.. I saw them using trucks on one side of the spillway. I was wondering about the other side where the boat launch and parking area is located. I didn't realize that the only access to that parking area is across the dam and then down below the emergency spillway. That road has been washed out.

skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Feb 14, 2017 - 11:55am PT
If there is "piping" occurring, they are in deep sh#t. Not sure they are going to be able to ascertain that in the time they have left. Filling up those holes with the largest rip rap they can find may be the best option as a temporary patch job.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 14, 2017 - 12:23pm PT
When they want to get something done they can move mountains. Those freeway interchanges went up in a flash after the Northridge quake.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 14, 2017 - 12:40pm PT
And I don't mean that in the millennial-praise sense.

lol.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Feb 14, 2017 - 01:44pm PT
*
John M..My lunch break was over and i did not see your question..Looks like it got answered above by Mr D.^^T..
The Local late night news had reported they were building a road for trucks and heavy equipment, hence my reply to you on the prior page...
back to work
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:00pm PT
Here's the road they built. But this only gets them into the area under the aux spillway. They still need the helicopters to work near the parking lot until the road gets extended.

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-13

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-main-spillway-waterfall-erosion-watch.t8402/

http://www.krcrtv.com/krcr-news-channel-7-live-stream

http://www.kcra.com/nowcast

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:37pm PT
some good drone footage in this link especially in the 2nd video from 2/11/17 of the emergency spillway in action showing what happens when you release an enormous amount of water on to a natural slope that is grossly out of equilibrium with the forces that have just been unleashed.

https://mavensnotebook.com/2017/02/14/this-just-in-oroville-dam-tuesday-2pm-evacuation-order-lifted-reservoir-levels-continue-to-drop/
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:48pm PT
That's at 7am yesterday. I don't even see the new road there.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:55pm PT
The damage if an earthquake hit sometime in the next week to 10 days would be huge.

From what I have read and heard, dams like Oroville aren't going to suddenly collapse in an earthquake. (Damage requiring expensive repairs might be another issue).

But from what I have read (and from an engineering buddy of mine who is involved in technical levee safety/assessment in CA) an earthquake could wipe out a lot of levees. If there has been an extended period of high flows so that the levees are a bit water logged and a big earthquake hits when the water is high up on the levees: the earthquake could cause the water to slosh back and forth and over the top of the levees. From what I have gathered, it doesn't sound like they are sure whether there would be a major problem or not. But if there was, it could be a huge deal.

When a levee fails, it is usually a section that might be a few hundred feet to a few thousand feet long. Once the water comes down, it can be repaired relatively quickly.

But a big earthquake might cause miles and miles of levees to all fail at once in the delta. That would take years and years to repair. Without the levees, salty water would make it upstream to the Tracy pumps. Not good for pumping water south.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:56pm PT
The design below the emergency spillway wasn't thought through at all from the look of it - the road was guaranteed to go and the base of the emergency spillways was guaranteed to erode badly given they didn't give it any concrete ramp away from the emergency spillway itself. Should have been concrete at least as far as the road and channels should have gone under the road.

Nothing like building things gambling against big events and bothering with designing and building for one. Now it's going to cost way more than if they'd just built it right in the beginning. Probably would have been if it were sitting above Los Angeles and not nowhere NorCal.
WBraun

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 03:57pm PT
They should disassemble El Cap and helicopter it over to the dam.

That should fix it .....
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:02pm PT
The hole that was growing near the emergency spillway was the major reason for the evacuation, wasn't it?

The fact that they had a road there that got washed out is not a big deal. Replacing a short section of road once every 50 years, so what.

The fact that a relatively small flow over the emergency almost caused the concrete spillway to erode away is a big deal.

If the concrete spillway had collapsed, it would not have caused the entire dam to fail. But it sounds like the state engineers think 30 or more feet of the spillway would have collapsed. Better than having all 700 feet of the dam collapse. But still enough to cause some serious flooding.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:04pm PT
If the spillway fails and releases 30 feet of water then the damn dam failed. Can't parse that away with engineering double talk about how the dam was in no danger of failing.

So how should they express that without causing confusion to the public?

Oh yea, we are on the verge of losing Oroville dam? Which means residents of Sacramento should be worried...

We are on the verge of losing 30 feet of the spillway, residents just downstream should evacuate but residents of Sacramento won't even notice...
chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:18pm PT
I live in A downstream area. Our biggest concern is that water is coming through levees at Verona where the Sac and Feather meet. Alot of pressure down there.....garden highway closed and many trucks of rock and slurry gettin dumped. If the dam breaks, the result is predictable. But if it doesnt, when we get 5-12 in of rain this weekend, the levees may fail and we cannot predict for certain where. This has put our downstream communities on edge to be sure. Tractors and harvesters are stacked up on marcum overpass, stashed on high ground. Everyone is just waiting...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:28pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Close flyover when water was going over the emergency spillway on Feb 12.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 14, 2017 - 04:57pm PT
RE Dams & Earthquakes...

FYI, on May 12, 2008, the 8.0 M Sichuan (or Wenchuan) earthquake killed 69,000 people in Sichuan Province and left > 4.5M people homeless.

from Wikipedia...
According to a study by the China Earthquake Administration (CEA), the earthquake occurred along the Longmenshan fault, a thrust structure along the border of the Indo-Australian Plate and Eurasian Plate. Seismic activities concentrated on its mid-fracture (known as Yingxiu-Beichuan fracture). The rupture lasted close to 120 seconds, with the majority of energy released in the first 80 seconds. Starting from Wenchuan, the rupture propagated at an average speed of 3.1 kilometers per second 49° toward north east, rupturing a total of about 300 km. Maximum displacement amounted to 9 meters. The focus was deeper than 10 km

The reason I bring this up is that many geophysicists & seismologists suspect that this earthquake was the result of reservoir-induced seismicity...namely the rapid filling of the nearby Zipingpu Dam on the Min River triggered this large earthquake. Dams & reservoirs are not just passive objects that may be vulnerable to failure from a nearby earthquake...they actually induce earthquakes, if the filling of the reservoir is not managed properly.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/323/5912/322.full

According to calculations by Christian Klose of Columbia University...
...the added weight both eased the squeeze on the fault, weakening it, and increased the stress tending to rupture the fault. The effect was 25 times that of a year's worth of natural stress loading from tectonic motions, Klose said. When the fault did finally rupture, it moved just the way the reservoir loading had encouraged it to, he noted.

Zipingpu Dam

Additional info here...
https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/sichuan-earthquake-damages-dams-may-be-dam-induced-3619
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 14, 2017 - 05:16pm PT
This article appeared on the Temblor website today...oroville dam also at seismic risk.

An interesting question is whether after 5 years of drought, the large and rapid refilling of the Lake this winter—from 1/3 full to brim full—could set the stage for future induced earthquakes at the Lake. What this means is that both the spillway integrity and seismic resilience point to the same need for safety, strength, and vigilance.


http://temblor.net/earthquake-insights/oroville-dam-is-also-at-seismic-risk-2538/
WBraun

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 05:24pm PT
You guys are gonna scare those poor people living below the dam with all this talk of earthquakes and sh!t going wrong .......
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Feb 14, 2017 - 05:36pm PT
August, I understand what you are saying about losing the emergency spillway; that is not a dam collapse. The question is, though, if the emergency spillway collapsed, would the erosion from the draining lake just keeping eating into the hillside? My understanding is the concrete emergency spillway is built on top of soil, hence the concern when erosion was evident at the base of the emergency spillway. If the concrete went, what then? How far to bedrock? Would that erosion lead to total failure of the hillside?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 14, 2017 - 06:03pm PT
You guys are gonna scare those poor people living below the dam with all this talk of earthquakes and sh!t going wrong .......

Too late, and they should be scared.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Feb 14, 2017 - 06:34pm PT
Thanks for all the great geology lessons t_tradster!

Thanks everyone for all the other quality images and input, too.

The subsurface composition, combined with the extreme forces at work above, lead to some disconcerting realizations. A dicey situation at best: extreme hydrologic conditions, combined with potentially poor design and inferior workmanship . . . recipe for disaster.

Bless the folks downstream.
john hansen

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 07:45pm PT
Here is a grab I did from Google earth. Not sure how to link the site directly , but I am sure many of you use it.

If you drag around your mouse it will show the elevation at any given point, of course it does not work on this pic.
If you go to the top of the emergency spillway it reads 901 feet , so very accurate.

If you go along the western, (left) side of the parking lot it rises from the bottom where the road intersection is, at about 905 ft to the upper left corner where it is not much higher at all, 908 or so. There is a short section between that corner between the parking lot and the lake that goes up to 923.

I may revise some of these numbers when I look back at it but I don't think it is more then 1/4 mile from the lake to where it falls down past the end of the road to 875 pretty quickly.






So my idea would be to dig a channel right up that road and the west side of that lot , and thru that one section that is a little higher by the lake (think road cut).

It they went down 15 feet that would be to 890. It would not have to be that big of an opening as it would erode depending on the the amount of
water. Even down to 899 it could prevent over topping the emergency spillway.

en.I am certain they must have geological reports that show the underlying formations and how much erosion might happ

They could also leave 40 feet of undisturbed ground on the lake side, and only finish it at the last resort to keep the the other spillway being over topped.


I know this could cause lots of debris and mud but this is one of those years when there is so much water to flush everything out. I think that hillside would hold in the end.


Just throwing it out there ,,



I think that would be better than many thousands of peoples homes wiped out if that 30 foot wall failed.

Check out Google Earth and let me know what you think.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Feb 14, 2017 - 09:08pm PT
I think you'd be totally f*#ked, not knowing what the soil/rock was under there. What's to stop it from just eroding until the lake empties?
john hansen

climber
Feb 14, 2017 - 09:45pm PT
Yes that could be true but it could still remain an option.

And as I said above there are geographical maps for this area


EDIT:


DMT

LOL,,
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Feb 15, 2017 - 12:52am PT
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 12:58am PT
if you want to explore the geology...

http://mrdata.usgs.gov/geology/state/state.php?state=CA

here in Google Earth (download the kml file)
you can see the mapped faults too!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 15, 2017 - 01:29am PT
hey there say, tuolumne_tradster, and DMT, and all...

as to this:
[quote]The reason I bring this up is that many geophysicists & seismologists suspect that this earthquake was the result of reservoir-induced seismicity...namely the rapid filling of the nearby Zipingpu Dam on the Min River triggered this large earthquake. Dams & reservoirs are not just passive objects that may be vulnerable to failure from a nearby earthquake...they actually induce earthquakes, if the filling of the reservoir is not managed properly.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/323/5912/322.full[/quote]

that is what i was wondering about, or,
anything similar, either as to the dam area,
or, really (with my limited knowledge) just in general,
as to the conditions 'down under' from drought, rapid
change to soak, etc...


say, ed, main reason, too, that i wonder:
IS all those faults... (you know, if more things
trigger them, as to the moving and slipping, etc,
within, or around them, than we REALLY know) ... oh my...


say, ed...thanks for the share, too...

let's hope and pray, all stays well, in calif...
our beloved calif, land of so many beautiful creations
and scenic views of them...

wow, LINK to the color chart, that
GOES to ed's colored map up there...

https://mrdata.usgs.gov/catalog/lithclass-color.php
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 15, 2017 - 01:38am PT
hey there say, ed... man oh man, THIS is really great...

i just looked at texas, and michigan, ...

:O


the various rocks, in the areas, even JUST
within each state, etc is really
something to see, :O
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 15, 2017 - 08:31am PT
This article in Forbes magazine yesterday by David Bressan, a self-proclaimed freelance geologist who works mainly on permafrost in the Eastern Alps...


http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2017/02/14/some-geological-observations-on-the-oroville-dam/#4f27830a1925
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 08:58am PT
My 2-cents?

DWR rejected the idea of armoring the Emergency Spillway on the grounds that "it's expensive and we're never going to use it - we have a giant regular spillway capable of 350,000 cfs." Even the letter from the Enviromental Groups note the the Emergency Spillway was supposed to be a "temporary" structure until Lake Marysville got built (it never got built).

So, that mindset made them ignore the Geology.

I'm going to be generous here and say that the problem with the REGULAR spillway was probably invisible - a small hole in the soil/rock that developed underneath during 4 years of drought and/or saturated hillslope runoff this year. Maybe only detectable with geophysics or drilling holes. The regular spillway probably hasn't been loaded in 4-5 years - and then it gets loaded, the concrete is unsupported, it starts to crack, water gets in, erosion accelerates, the spillway collapses.

The first day of testing DWR did scale back the flows to see what would happen, and there WAS some erosion creeping uphill... which is bad. So they made the decision to baby the regular spillway to limit uphill erosion, and in the meantime the reservoir filled. The inflow predictions weren't bad - they were a little off, but generally good... the operators just made the decision to run the reservoir up to the rim (and then over a little) to protect the regular spillway.

So the regular spillway ALSO failed due to Geology (I think...)

The operators of the dam may not have realized how vulnerable the Emergency Spillway was (complaints were lodged 7-12 years ago - there's turnover at DWR) After all, it was "supposed to" handle 10' of water over the crest (that's a lot!). But nobody really thought about whether the rock/soil downstream could handle that much water, which obviously it cannot. This is a design failure more than an operational failure.

SO... more geology required in CA civil engineering code and licensure! That's my recommendation!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:08am PT
hey there say, cleo... wow, thanks for the very good share, here...


say, thread drift, did you get your very late christmas card?
i sent it to your folks, first, but after it came back,
i FOUND an evelope with address? for when you came back into
the country, :)

hope you did!
you are NOT forgotten, :)

say, all... love the geo info, :)

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:16am PT
SO... more geology required in CA civil engineering code and licensure! That's my recommendation!
Couldn't agree more with that statement :-)

Here's some more info about the regional tectonic setting...the Oroville dam is located in the Sierra foothills metamorphic belt between two major regional faults, the Bear Mountain and Melones fault zones as shown on this tectonic map of California (in the area designated with horizontal stripes) described as Oceanic &/or island-arc terrane, largely melange. Melange is a geologic term indicating a rock composed primarily of a shale or mud matrix that contains "exotic" blocks (volkswagon to city block in scale) of mainly metamorphic rocks. These rocks generally originate in deep oceanic trenches associated with subduction zones.


Geology and tectonic evolution of the Bear Mountains Fault Zone, Foothills Terrane, central Sierra Nevada, California
Article in Tectonics 10(5):995-1006 · October 1991
DOI: 10.1029/91TC00862
Robert B Miller and Scott R Peterson

Abstract
The Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Bear Mountains fault zone (BMFZ) is the westernmost strand of the Foothills fault system in the Western Metamorphic belt of the Sierra Nevada. The tectonic significance of this 300-km-long fault zone has been downplayed in the past, but we contend that it is a major discontinuity within the Foothills terrane. The BMFZ is an ˜ 5-km-wide shear zone consisting of slate-metagraywacke-matrix melange that experienced intense polyphase deformation and metamorphism. Small-scale structures indicate reverse slip along most of the extent of this steeply east dipping shear zone. A host of lithologically diverse tectonic blocks are enclosed in the BMFZ. Blocks of sandstone, metavolcanic rocks, and plutonic rocks of intermediate composition have counterparts in the adjacent eastern and western zones of the Foothills terrane, whereas other block types are exotic. Exotic blocks include ultramafites that locally contain pods of gabbro, garnet amphibolite, greenschist, sedimentary breccia, and volcaniclastic rocks. The breccia is composed primarily of clasts of amphibolite and minor garnet-bearing impure quartzite (metachert?); it probably accumulated at the base of fault scarps. The exotic blocks comprise a broadly ophiolitic assemblage similar to that inferred to form basement to the Foothills terrane, and they record a deformation prior to incorporation in the slate-metagraywacke matrix. Amphibolite blocks and quartzite preserved as clasts within the breccia probably were deformed during overthrusting of oceanic lithosphere in a setting similar to that beneath the Tuolumne ophiolite east of the BMFZ. The presence of exotic blocks implies large-scale mixing and large displacements in the BMFZ, as do differences in stratigraphy across the fault zone. Metamorphic grade does not vary significantly across the BMFZ, however, suggesting that dip slip did not exceed several tens of kilometers if the fault zone originally dipped gently eastward as we propose. There is no direct evidence for major strike slip along the BMFZ as has been proposed by others; any such slip must have occurred before the reverse-slip related structures of the zone. We thus interpret the BMFZ as an intra-arc reverse fault of moderate to large displacement, with possible earlier strike slip, that incorporates ophiolitic basement showing an older, complicated history.

My understanding is that the fault lines shown on the map that Ed Hartouni posted ^^^ located to the west of the Oroville dam are segments of the Bear Mountain Fault Zone. This fault appears on the geologic map that I posed ^^^ also. If you look at the map that I posted ^^^ RE the Smartville Ophiolite you can see that there are ultramaphic rocks associated with the Melones fault zone, these are largely Serpentine. Needless to say, these rocks have come a long way from where they originated to where they are today.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:18am PT
In the run-up to the emergency spillway overflow, dam and DWR officials publicly vacillated about whether to use it or not.

not sure this is correct. The flood control rule book limits the flow that is allowed from the dam downstream.

the charts that they use as the rule to how much flood control capacity is required averages the precipitation over the previous 6 weeks.

I haven't done all the numbers, but it is possible that last week's intense storm was outside of the planning basis for those rules (which haven't been updated since the dam was first constructed, and is based on the knowledge of California climate in the then recorded history).


you can get the flows, etc, from this site:
http://www.spk-wc.usace.army.mil/reports/archives.html


I haven't gone back and calculated the release the rules required...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:26am PT
"This is an aggressive proactive attack to address the erosion," said Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Dept of Water Resources.

Proactive? Really? Spoken like a true bureaucrat, sir.
John M

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 09:46am PT
Obviously they were loathe to use it even then.

They had no need to use it as the main spillway was not damaged at that time and was perfectly capable of handling those flows. Everything changed when the main spillway became damaged.

Edit: Everything changed again when they discovered that the emergency/auxillary spillway was incapable of doing its job. Should they have known that it was poorly designed? I believe so, but then I am no expert. but even a none expert can tell you that compacted soil erodes fairly quickly with water. As far as heads rolling. There is a good chance that the people in charge back when they were sued over this are now retired. So whose head should roll? People inherit messes.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 10:34am PT
HELLO NEEBEE!

Yes, I got your card, thank you! I've been meaning to respond!

cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 10:37am PT
I see the geology maps - I don't find them all that helpful in this case. I'd love to see a site investigation report from the construction.

We went out to the site and there was more than one lithology - it ranged from hard metamorphic (meta-volcanic, I guess ... looked metamorphic from across the river) to softer semi-consolidated reddish rock - maybe a pyroclastic tuff with hillslope colluvium. In climbing terms, there was, Choss, Not Choss, and Soil at the site. The Choss and Soil are highly erodible!
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 10:38am PT
I'm really curious to know if the regular spillway is experiencing significant erosion uphill. Back to twitter for the latest photos!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 15, 2017 - 10:42am PT
There is a good chance that the people in charge back when they were sued over this are now retired. So whose head should roll? People inherit messes.


How about starting from the TOP down.... work your way down to somebody who is competent, put them in control.

If retired.... how about a pension freeze/reduction...

that's the major problem with all this sh#t at the state level, the motto is "I will be retired when the mess hits the blades"

:>)

TLP

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 10:57am PT
"...when they discovered..." is BS. It was obvious 10 or 12 years ago, even to non-engineers, that the emergency spillway hillside needed to be armored in order to be able to withstand any significant flows overtopping it. Written comments to this effect were made during relicensing. It is certain that anyone with the slightest bit of engineering background, or just an iota of common sense, involved in the relicensing, knew that this was true. It's just as certain that the main customers' (for example, LA Metro. Water District's) desire to avoid paying for this work is the reason it wasn't done. Everyone, including MWD, certainly knew the emergency spillway wasn't viable, but probably figured that inflows would never be big enough, and/or that the main spillway would never suffer any issues, so the lake would never overtop.

It's a funny name, emergency spillway, which we now know doesn't mean "will be overtopped in an emergency" but instead, "if water ever goes over this it'll be a major emergency."

Cleo is 100 percent right on about choss, non-choss, and soil at the site. There must be a nice piece of non-choss that's making that spectacular rooster tail in the breached main spillway, the issue is, can it headcut back up to the spillway structure. And if it's headcutting, which would be the bigger flood: let the main spillway structure fail at the lip, or close it before, and let the emergency one fail. In other words, where's the low point of competent rock between the dam and the hillside the emergency spillway ties into. That's an operations decision no one is going to want to make if the spillway keeps headcutting up. It doesn't seem to be doing that, but it hasn't had 100,000 cfs or more going down it for all that long.

1997 flood was January 2, and is the highest flood of record on many northern/central California rivers and tributaries. Some of them (Merced for example), had similar flood levels on January 3.
John M

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:00am PT
Yes.. the 97 flood started Dec 31st 1996, and went to the 5th.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:00am PT
"This is an aggressive proactive attack to address the erosion," said Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Dept of Water Resources.

Proactive? Really? Spoken like a true bureaucrat, sir.

Reilly, of course locking the barn after the horses are out is pro-active. Since they cannot get back in, they cannot escape again.
Cragar

climber
MSLA - MT
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:06am PT
Cleo, keep them geo-explanations coming; oh, pics would be coo too!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:07am PT
What if we get another MARCH MIRACLE like the one in 1991.... a whole years worth of rain in 30 days.

What then batman?


It would seem to me that SAFETY would be the number one concern.

screw the water.

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:09am PT
Lots of excellent info and photos here

Oroville Dam Main Spillway Waterfall Erosion Watch thread...

Since the eroson of the main spillway is the key risk now water levels are under control, I've created this thread to keep track of any changes in the erosion at the "waterfall" location. Inevitably there will be some "head cutting" and the erosion will the move up the hill. However it seems to have stopped since Feb 10, and the hope is that it is now stable with the spillway spilling over a rock-bedded location.

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-main-spillway-waterfall-erosion-watch.t8402/
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:14am PT
This morning a CalFire guy showed me pictures of his brother in 1986, standing on the 49 guardrail, above the American confluence, coming down from Cool.

The 49 bridge and the no-hands bridge were completely underwater, by a long ways. Unrecognizeable.

Wow....
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:18am PT
Some 20% of all dam failures are due to piping (internal erosion caused by seepage). Spillway weirs are one of the structures that fail via piping. This type of failure typically has nothing directly (or very little) to do with geology, but rather the slow constant water pressure, or head, placed on an earthen construction holding back water. The actual Oroville dam is a zoned earthen construction and should be resistant to this kind of hydrologic attack. But the spillway weir is another story and may be constructed differently. At least so far I have not found any details on the spillway construction. This is just me bullshitting at this time and the people working on the problem should have the construction specs at their fingertips. But to me, the potential for it to be a piping problem based on placement is high.
John M

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:25am PT
But to me, the potential for it to be a piping problem based on placement is high.

If it were a pipping problem in the ESW, then wouldn't there be water running, seeping after they stopped overflowing it?
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:25am PT
Some info on the aux spillway construction here:

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-14
TLP

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:29am PT
Great link, tradster! Very good photos and text, about as reassuring as we're likely to see. It's very sobering to see the teeny tiny size of the rock bags they're placing, one slowly by one, in the context of the vast expanse of just plain soil and the new Oroville Falls (which must leap a good ways up the list of tallest cascades/waterfalls in Calif.).
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:34am PT
hey there say, great cleo!

came back fast, got to run now... busy busy busy, :))
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:37am PT
And what happens when Lake Shasta overflows later this month. Will there be similar problems showing up there?
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 11:54am PT
John M. Yes, if there is no seepage then it is probably just erosion of the spillway itself, perhaps exacerbated by differential settling. What few photos I have seen, it is hard to tell if there is any seepage as it could stay underneath the concrete apron following the contour of topography. Scary thought is that over the past week I have been getting what little updates on the dam I get here, lol. So I have missed a lot of potentially pertinent information to be sure.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 15, 2017 - 12:21pm PT
to Cleo's point, the geologic maps posted ^^^ are useful for understanding the regional scale distribution of geologic units and structures. This photo shows the scale that is relevant to the
erosion of the main & emergency spillways. As you can see, there is a great deal of variability in the distribution of soil, weathered, and unweathered bedrock. Rather than being a uniform mass of solid material, the bedrock is highly fractured and sheared...more like Mt Dana and Mt Morrison than Fairview dome ;-)


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 15, 2017 - 12:34pm PT
I think it was again a mistake not to take both spillways back down to rock and build them back up. Way more expensive though.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 01:24pm PT
TT, unfortunately that scale mapping does not do us much good for any real eval, but you probably already know this. At the scene evaluation is critical, and we need to trust those at the scene doing the eval. That scale mapping is only good as a cursory start to an evaluation. There should be core and borehole samples as well logs from the initial investigation. I used to be a hard core hydrologist and geologist and traveled extensively over the years.

Not even knowing the site though, green schist is notorious for being unstable due to the inconsistency of secondary alteration and consolidation as well as fracturing.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:08pm PT
It's indisputable that the Dam is already in failure mode. The project was originally rushed along by papa Moonbeam with intentional or unintentional lack of adequate coring to determine the degree and extent of heavily fractured bedrock susceptible to erosion in the main and emergency spillway areas. Additionally, it seems, the 100 year rainfall/melt potential of California's long term climate was ignored. This dam should have been pared with another upstream to accommodate the possible fill potential, without resorting to emergency releases,
during a 100 year event. Any study this design was based on is phony science ( much like current catastrophic anthropogenic global warming)
that is verging on a capital punishment level crime. The only thing separating downstream communities from wide spread losses of property and life is luck at this point. If you're not a heathen say a prayer.

.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:14pm PT
They expressed it just fine once the state of emergency was declared. My kids live on the back side of a levee in Natomas. They were absolutely at risk because of the spillway. The Sacramento river is a few measly feet from topping its levee out near the Sacramento Weir. The weir is still open meaning that slug of water would have surged right through the city. Still might have held anyway but I wouldn't count on DWR assurances to that effect.



DMT

I actually work with guys (that have no association with DWR) that are involved in figuring out how big a flood would be caused by a given dam failing. If the comment about the emergency spillway "only" losing 30 feet or so is correct, then they tell me that Sacramento would not be at risk. Yuba city and Marrysville would get it though.

A slug of water spreads out as it goes downstream. As an example, say you have been releasing 100,000 cfs from Oroville for a long time. You then release 200,000 cfs for one hour and then go back to 100,000. By the time it gets to Sacramento (12 hours or so later), it doesn't cause a 100,000 increase for one hour. It might be something more like 33,000 for 3 hours. (Note, I'm just making these numbers up to describe a behavior).

If the emergency spillway had gone, they would have shut off all of the flow going through the main, gated spillway. They could also completely close Folsom for a few hours while the peak flow was going past Sacramento. The Sacramento river going through Sacramento can handle ~600,000 cfs without flooding. Shasta is farther away then Oroville, but they might also have shut it down for a few hours if the Oroville spillway started going.

I don't have any insight as to why they thought the spillway would only lose 30 feet.

I absolutely agree that those individuals and those institutions that are responsible should be held responsible and lessons should be learned. But neither should the danger (in this case Sacramento flooding) be overstated.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:23pm PT
Additionally, it seems, the 100 year rainfall/melt potential of California's long term climate was ignored. This dam should have been pared with another upstream to accommodate the possible fill potential, without resorting to emergency releases,
during a 100 year event. Any study this design was based on is phony science

The reason they had flow over the emergency spillway was not because the dam was too small or was operated incorrectly.

If the main gated spillway had not had the problem with the concrete ripping out (which caused them to reduce the flow down this spillway), the lake would never had filled to the emergency spillway, there would have been no evacuation and nobody would have heard anything about Oroville. It would just be a wetter then usual, but still routine spring flow.

But the fact that this spillway had damage absolutely was a problem. The fact that the emergency spillway had a problem at such a small flow is also a big deal.

There are a limit to how many dams you can build. There are only so many sites where you can put a large dam. Also there is real tradeoff. If you kept the lakes lower, floods (or the sort of problem that Oroville just had) would be reduced. But farmers would have less water if CA happened to go into a drought.

To be a cynical snark: do you want to protect the residents of Yuba city or do you want to grow almonds in dry years?
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:28pm PT
According to some back-of-the envelope calcs..

Area = 15,500 acres
Loss = 30 feet
Total Loss = 465,000 acre-ft

Lets assume it takes 4 hours for all that water to spill out...
-> 1,406,000 cfs for 4 hours.

That's a lot of water. Double it for 2 hours, quadruple it for 1 hour. You get the idea.

Lots of floodplain between the dam and Sacramento, that flood would pretty much obliterate those upstream levees and the water would spread out, so I *think* Sac would be ok, but there would still be a surge in the River. I don't know if anyone knows how much, but there were some flood maps at the SacBee.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:28pm PT
In the run-up to the emergency spillway overflow, dam and DWR officials publicly vacillated about whether to use it or not.

not sure this is correct. The flood control rule book limits the flow that is allowed from the dam downstream.

I haven't gone back and calculated the release the rules required...

Once the main gated spillway was damaged, they are no longer in "normal" operations. I don't know this for a fact, but I would assume they could operate the dam in whatever manner they thought would first minimize risk and second, would minimize damage and that they wouldn't be bound by the flood control rule book.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:34pm PT
Hey West, your all wet.

The dam has had to release beyond flood stage levels a few times already in its relatively short existence. In 1997 it reached its brim. 1862 was much worse, and what this Feather River drainage should have been designed to since it occurs regularly in the climatic record.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:35pm PT
Lots of floodplain between the dam and Sacramento, that flood would pretty much obliterate those upstream levees and the water would spread out, so I *think* Sac would be ok, but there would still be a surge in the River. I don't know if anyone knows how much, but there were some flood maps at the SacBee.

If you know (or assume) how fast the water comes out of Oroville (i.e. it is this many cfs for this many hours), then they can model this flood very accurately (with some caveats below).

They don't usually know exactly how many hours it takes for it (the emergency spillway in this case) to fully collapse (although there are some limits on the both the short and long side).

Caveats: you have to know what the downstream river looks like to model a flood surge. For a catastrophic flow that causes levees downstream to overtop, you wouldn't always know which levees would fail first. When a levee fails, it can reduce the flow in the main river which might protect other levees. So the answers could vary a little bit based on which levees fail first and which levees don't fail at all.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:39pm PT
I was referring to the folks who let the dam over-fill and kept offering reassurances all was well right up until it wasn't. I'd suppose a lot of the original engineers have passed through the veil darkly.

I think the water users / rate payers who use water from the lake should foot the bill for dam improvements, for the most part.

I kind of covered this, but the dam wasn't "over-filled". The cascade of events didn't start until the main spillway had erosion from the failed concrete.

And for those following my posts: having water supply reservoirs is a fine thing. But farming uses the lion share of water that has frequently been subsidized by tax payers. (And perhaps by resident that have less margin against flooding.)
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:42pm PT
DMT,

The levee failures would all be upstream of Sacramento. If the numbers my engineering buddies are telling me are correct, Sacramento wouldn't have a flood flow. It would fill the bypass by levees wouldn't be overtopped. Yes, a levee that is in bad shape can fail without overtopping. But the flows going through Sacramento wouldn't be any larger than the sort of flows you would expect every 10 years or so.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:51pm PT
The Main SW (MSW) is damaged and no one can say if it can be used throughout the rest of this wet season...

How in hell are they going to beef up the ESW so that it can cover the MSW in the event of a true emergency which is certainly possible this year??? Acting DWR Head yesterday said CA was on track for the wettest recorded year in history if it kept raining at previously seen rates.

A wet rainstorm in March like the '97 event could easily see 150,000 CFS...

The damage on the main spillway it still a long ways downstream. Yes, the more you use, the more erosion you get. But they could still let a lot of water out before it became an emergency issue. The more you let out the more it is going to cost to repair, but that can be dealt with later.

I would presume that they are going to keep lowering the water level as fast as they dare. They aren't going to be limited by any rule book or concerns about water supply.

It wouldn't surprise me to see them drop the water level a hundred feet or more. This will dramatically reduce the chance of the reservoir filling up again (but would impact things if CA goes back into a drought).

I don't know if they can repair it in one summer (I would kind of doubt it). If they can't, I would imagine they would really drop the lake level before next winter.

I'm curious also as to the repair bill. My wild guess at the moment is $500 million.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 02:58pm PT
DMT,

For a collapse of the Oroville spillway, the peak flow through Sacramento might be over a time span of 6 to 12 hours. You could completely shut off the flow from Folsom during that time. I didn't find the number with a quick search, but that might be 100,000 cfs or so.

A much bigger difference could be made by reducing the flow from Shasta. Although Shasta is further upstream than Oroville, so if the spillway collapse had happened really suddenly, I'm not sure if a reduction from Shasta would help or not.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 15, 2017 - 03:08pm PT
I think Shasta flows are 4-5 days from the Delta*, so shutting down Shasta would not help with a sudden collapse.

Shutting down Folsom would help, however.

*probably a summer estimate, so maybe less in winter
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 15, 2017 - 05:01pm PT
skcreidc said ^^^
... I used to be a hard core hydrologist and geologist ...
so then you know that most/all geologic/hydrogeologic problems are severely under sampled and the challenge is to make full use of what little information you have to interpret what is between the known data points, boreholes, outcrops, etc

green schist is notorious for being unstable due to the inconsistency of secondary alteration and consolidation as well as fracturing.
yes, exactly and according to the geologic map, the dam and the entire reservoir is underlain by this material...so, as an initial approximation, extrapolate that fractured green schist outcrop over the entire area.

Looks like there is a fault interpreted within the green schist (mv) unit on the geologic map that projects toward the southeastern end of the dam.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2017 - 06:02pm PT
So a correction to my earlier comments. I thought Yuba city flooding was based on the collapse of the emergency spillway stopping after 30 feet. The latest I am hearing is that it could go two or three hundred feet deep and it sill wouldn't flood Sacramento.

The flows would be somewhere in the 1 to two million cfs at the dam. But it would really spread out and slow down.

Basically, as long as the flows are below the levee, the water shoots down the channel. Once it goes over the levee it creates a giant, slow moving muddy lake that fills up and then slowly drains. So there would be a large region affected but the peak flow would be really spread out by the time it reached Sacramento. If this is the scenario, I would think that shutting off the flows from Shasta for a while, would make a big difference to the maximum flow in the Sacramento area.
bergbryce

climber
East Bay, CA
Feb 15, 2017 - 06:21pm PT
Fill 'er to the rim, with Brim.

The rain totals through Thursday look pretty damn' heavy. Where the hell was all this rain 2011-2015?
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 15, 2017 - 07:54pm PT
So Toprope, you are alluding to more problems for the troubled Dam? Do you have room at your place to house flood refugees? Might happen before summer.

Actually, I was talking of other facilities on the same scale as Oroville.
john hansen

climber
Feb 15, 2017 - 08:10pm PT
Having grown up around there, I am finding it very difficult to find photos of the progress they are making in fixing and protecting the bottom of the emergency spillway. I have seen many photos of trucks and helicopters and excavators and dozers working 24 / 7. I saw one boom pump,,
Where are all the concrete trucks? I wonder how much progress they made today?

The last photos I could find they were working down on the east end of the temp spillway and the rest was the helo's .

Any one have a link to the latest KCRA flyover and how much progress they have actually made today in protecting the area below the emergency spillway?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 12:11am PT
so from the USACE archive site I linked above you can see that 1997 was very different from 2017, here is the same plot from the site for 1997


I also downloaded the data and could use the "flood control diagram" to map out the outflow, the reservoir volume and the volume prescribed by the flood control for the years 1997 and 2017



the first thing you notice is that the reservoir was "full" in 1997. There were two storms that year in the period shown which dropped 27.57" of rain in the drainage. In 2017 there were 4 storms dropping 40.2".

The flood control diagram prescribes the reservoir volume given the average previous 6 weeks of precipitation, (in millimeters per day) ...

the green line on the plots above is the capacity prescribed by flood control, the red line is the actual reservoir level, and the blue line is the average daily outflow in cubic feet per second.

In 1997 the big storm was late Dec/early Jan and dropped 18.44". That accounts for the big spike in the outflow, but notice that the reservoir level tracked the flood control prescription. The second storm was in late January and dropped 9.13" and there was some additional outflow.

In 2017 the first storm was in December dropping 10.28" and raising the reservoir level. However, the reservoir was well below the flood control prescription.

The second storm in early January dropped 13.49" and raised the reservoir to the prescribed flood control capacity.

A mid January storm dropped an additional 4.45" and the outflow was raised to keep at the flood control level. However, the early February storm dropped 11.98" and while the outflow was increased it could not keep up with the inflow.

The current situation is that the reservoir capacity is still well over the flood control prescription, and at the current average outflow of 100000 cfs it will take another week to lower the reservoir to the prescribed level.

This year was anomalous compared to 1997.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Feb 16, 2017 - 01:56am PT
$200,000 off all homes in the dam flood zone sale? How does this affect the communities long term?
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 16, 2017 - 02:06am PT
wishing for the best mr. toprope and family
feralfae

Boulder climber
in the midst of a metaphysical mystery
Feb 16, 2017 - 04:38am PT
Yes, wishing the best to TopRope and family and his Dad.
ff
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 16, 2017 - 06:30am PT
Can someone just explain the problem to me as I've just not understood. The damage is to the spillway? This is on the downstream side of the dam? How does this affect the integrity of the dam itself? Thanks.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 16, 2017 - 06:35am PT
Andy/nita, best wishes for a happy outcome.
Looking for Damzilla the Damkilla.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 07:54am PT
Can someone just explain the problem to me

jaaan, check out the video here:

How the Lake Oroville emergency happened

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/92578151-132.html
John M

climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:04am PT

Jaaan..

In the picture above, the dam is to the right. For scale, it is 700 feet tall and 6000 feet across approximately.

In the center is the main spillway. It is a cement spillway with gates at the top.

To the left is the auxiliary/emergency spillway.

First.. the main spillway developed a hole in it about halfway down.
The dam operators were concerned the hole would grow and possibly erode back to the main spillway structure and possibly even take it out. There was also concern that as it erodes the hillside out, it could erode back towards the main dam.

So they stopped flow to inspect. Meanwhile the water was rising in the lake.

there is an emergency spillway which is I believe an earthen structure capped with cement which is designed to have water flow over it like a weir. There is no gate. It is approximately 30 feet tall. In examining the hole in the main spillway the operators decided to use the emergency spillway. They let the water rise until it topped the emergency spillway. Erosion started happening downstream of the spillway. This erosion started working its way back towards the base of emergency spillway and the concern was that it would eat out the base of the spillway causing it to fail and thus allowing 30 feet of lake to rush out.

So the operators reopened the main spillway to stop the use of the emergency spillway.

There are now two main concerns.

1. will the main spillway continue to be useable? It seems to have stabilized somewhat, but with so much water flowing over it, no one can tell if its being undercut.

2. Can they repair and harden the emergency spillway enough so that if the main spillway starts to fail they could use the emergency spillway.

There is a whole lot more to the story such as there was a lawsuit 10+ years ago asking them to harden the downstream side of the emergency spillway. But they didn't.

We still have a lot of winter to go.
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:25am PT
The damage is to the spillway? This is on the downstream side of the dam? How does this affect the integrity of the dam itself?
Normally, the primary spillway carries the water ~3000' (and ~700 ft vertically) to the river below. Because of damage, much of that water currently exits that concrete spillway early, and has caused significant erosion on the face of the dam (though it's very far from causing the dam itself to fail).

The emergency spillway consists of a concrete wall, but no concrete channel - the water just flows down the face of the dam, eroding it. That erosion had started to undermine the concrete wall. If this were to fail, the top ~30 ft of the lake would rush out through the gap, which represents a huge amount of water flooding Oroville and other communities downstream.

The primary spillway is still draining the lake at a rate of 100,000 CFS - the aim is to reduce the lake level enough that it will handle inflow from rain and snowmelt without again reaching the height of the emergency spillway. There's no possibility of repairing it until the flow can be stopped (for a long time), which won't happen soon.

Lots of work is being done to reinforce the area near and below the emergency spillway, so that if it should again be needed it will not be undermined.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:34am PT
from the document I linked far up-thread:


FERC spillway guidelines distinguish three specific classifications of spillways: service spillways which "should exhibit excellent performance characteristics up to the 1% chance flood event" and could exhibit more "marginally safe performance characteristics for the inflow design flood" (usually the probable maximum flood), auxiliary spillways designed for infrequent use and could sustain limited damage during the inflow design flood, and emergency spillways that because of their infrequent use it is acceptable to sustain significant damage. ("Selecting and Accommodating Inflow Design Floods for Dams, FERC, October, 1993.) ...
john hansen

climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:38am PT
Has anyone seen any photos of progress they have made placing those bags below the emergency spillway?
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:47am PT
https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-main-spillway-waterfall-erosion-watch.t8402/

The latest from the Metabunk blog...
"parallel erosion channel sharply cutting into the hillside directly left of the waterfall" is referring to the flow (new) that can be seen to the left side of the left wall on the main spill way. It is shown clearly in the attached photo (very high definition and very useful). Also note the small stream of water just further to the left of the wall.

If this continues it will probably just lead to a widening of the fan below the waterfall, and the continued destruction of the structure of the lower parts of the spillway (already pretty much a total loss)

Looks like the 2 electrical power line towers to the left of the damaged spillway are at risk...
there are plans to fly the towers out by chopper once there is time/availability/cooperative weather.


Here's a closer look at the flow out of the left side of the main spillway...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 16, 2017 - 10:51am PT
With regard to the brown river water and there being no clear turbine effluent coming from the dam:

Officials had said they would start throttling back the releases to resume pulling debris from the river channel beneath the dam. The debris has backed up the river at a critical point, preventing the state from restarting the dam’s hydroelectric power plant. The plant would be capable of releasing up to 13,000 cfs.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:06am PT
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:11am PT
A look at the lithology:

Left - metamorphic, looks like greenschist (?), hard rock (not choss)

Right - Colluvium (slope soil) and Pyroclastics, tuff, or sandstone - (choss). This canyon is ~200 feet deep and formed in 3-4 days of ~40,000 cfs.


labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 12:59pm PT
"Can someone just explain the problem to me as I've just not understood."

The third post in this topic by Dingus explains it well. Go back to page one......


"ALL dams in California are "flood control" dams, it is the only way they get federal financing."

Not completely true. California also has debris / sedimentation dams that were put in place to try to stop material from coming down to the valley from the gold mining era. Englebright dam is a good example of this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Debris_Commission

The balancing act of reservoirs is interesting. If you want to keep up with lake levels, inflows, and outflows I suggest monitoring this page.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/current/RES

I find it interesting that Shasta is being kept so high and wonder if this was to keep pressure off the levees downstream from Oroville.....
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 01:21pm PT
This PowerPoint presentation on history of dams in California is great!

Warning, it takes quite a bit of time to load.

http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/dams_of_ca/Dams-of-California-Presentation-2012.pdf
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 16, 2017 - 01:55pm PT
Ok thanks. Makes more sense now.
BigB

Trad climber
Red Rock
Feb 16, 2017 - 02:37pm PT
5 days of rain starting today
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Feb 16, 2017 - 02:52pm PT
One "atmospheric river" is expected to hit So Cal tomorrow (Friday).

Another is expected to hit the Oroville Dam area on Monday. It's said to be warm and will probably yield mostly rain and relatively little snow, meaning quick run-off and possibly VERY BAD NEWS.

http://weatherwest.com/archives/5582
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 16, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
Thanks LabRat. Very interesting.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 16, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
This canyon is ~200 feet deep and formed in 3-4 days of ~40,000 cfs.

Grand Canyon by comparison was eroded in about a million years, pre-dam flows were 100 cfs. Current flows are about 20 cfs, although they have run as much as 48 cfs as an experiment.

cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 16, 2017 - 03:45pm PT
you mean 100,000 cfs, 20,000 cfs, and 48,000 cfs?

It's a big canyon (at Oroville) to have developed so quickly - says something about the material in the hillslope, which appears to be more soil-like than rock-like.
Impaler

Social climber
Oakland
Feb 16, 2017 - 04:34pm PT
Here's a good video about how things go down when it hits the fan. This is the Auburn Upstream Cofferdam Failure from 02/18/1986. Starting around 2m40s it gets going, then check out around 4m into the video the accelerated rate of erosion and soil continuously falling down.

[Click to View YouTube Video]
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 04:37pm PT
^^It's a great video of how things go right when correctly engineered. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.^^

Look up the Teton Dam video if you want to see one that went bad.

Added the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdOGPBnfoKE
Mule Skinner

Social climber
Bishop
Feb 16, 2017 - 04:50pm PT
Maybe this will wash all the crank out.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 16, 2017 - 05:21pm PT
Awesome Cali dam history .ppt labrat ^^^ thanks for posting

Over on the Metabunk thread, they still seem confident that the folks down stream of the Oroville dam are safe...

The concern would be with the "cliffs" in the waterfall region, the lower down ones are not too important. The most important one would be by the transmission towers (although they are going to move them anyway).


Given the pounding and spray already, I suspect that some rain isn't going to do much damage. The hillside is relatively stable and has been there for decades (if not thousands of years). Maybe a bit more surface erosion.

Looks like the latest weather forecast just got worse...pineapple express on its way
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
With that much water already there, and more on the way, there is a chaotic element which makes it difficult to predict the final outcome. It is very interesting to read about 1861, what happened back then. The dams make for much better overall control now versus back then, but on the other hand, there are many more people now living downstream in vulnerable places.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:13pm PT
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article133030359.html#storylink=cpy

I think this is exactly what you were getting at when you talked about the flood procedures of the Oroville Dam earlier in this thread. Frankly I was surprised to read that the operating procedures were not updated after the '97 flood, and it turns out, the '86 flood as well.

I posted a link to one of Willis' papers up thread.

The comment that DWR should speculate about the future, and so ignore what we know about climate change, is sort of beside the point.

The fact is that the dam flood diagrams were constructed with the weather records from 1910 to about 1960.

We could certainly update these to incorporate the weather history since 1960, and even have a periodic review (every 5 years? every 10 years?) and update with the additional information.

Further, studying climate change has brought a large body of history of California weather through paleoclimatology, I think there are annual reconstructions of rain patterns going back 1000 years, and perhaps 10000 years. It is hard to understand how that information wouldn't firm up our knowledge of flooding, and provide important information for flood control.

Finally, everyone may have missed the fact that the flood control diagrams do not use any forecast information.

The flood control considers the average daily precipitation of the past 6 weeks. Certainly in the old days, even as recently as 1997, the winter got cold enough that most of the precipitation fell as snow as the winter progressed. You can see in the 1997 the very nice "spring runoff" bump in the reservoir. That bump represents water stored as snow, and the flood diagrams assume that historic cycle, a cycle which is increasingly rare.

The prescriptions are predicated on the idea that the "conservation pool" is sufficient to store any additional inflow and avoid what happened, and recall that what happened is that they filled the reservoir to the flood control limit but were unable to raise the outflow sufficiently high to compensate for the next storm.

This is an important point, the dam was built to provide a fixed "conservation pool", which is basically the height of the spillway gate. And this was designed with the data they had on hand at the time.


Flood control, however, means reducing the dam capacity during periods of high inflow. And if you unlucky, this could mean you miss out on storing water, water which can be sold, and also used to generate electricity that could be sold... so there is an inherent conflict of interest between the flood control operations of the dam, and the water storage operations.

This bit them big time on the last storm. The flood control diagram doesn't make use of the fact that we have a 5 day storm coming in...

here is the forecasted flow rate ranges for the next 10 days:
from http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/espTrace.php?id=ORDC1

the inflow from the last storm was 155497 cfs, and over 100000 cfs for 4 days...

this storm looks more like the early January storm which had 3 days around 90000 cfs, and filled to the flood control limit... so a lot of water...

my point is that this forecast is not used in make flood control decisions.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:30pm PT
Back to the dam, any experts here want to chime in on the subject as to why the emergency spillway has nothing but dirt underneath it...

Remember that this was built back in the time of essential parity between the parties, both State and National.

These things are typically planned using the "lowest bidder" concept, which back then included significant graft and corruption.

On top of which, Repub always fought for the cheapest possible building costs (keep taxes low).

A great combination of factors that have led to inadequate engineering, inadequate upgrading, and inadequate testing of the actual built facilities.

What could go wrong???
TLP

climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:40pm PT
Interesting thoughts, Ed, ones I agree with very much. I did notice that your previous contribution noted that their actions are determined by the past 6 weeks' data, not forecasts. It may well be that when the rules of the game were established, they were good with stream gauges and temperature, (in fact, probably had more of the former than we now do) so could be pretty solid about calculated inflow based on that data in hand. Short-/medium-term forecasts weren't nearly as good back a few decades as they are now.

Your last graph there from AFPS has a puzzling aspect which I could probably figure out by going there, but if you know the answer quickly, that would be dandy. The blue dots for "Dist Mean" are all well below the minimums, not to mention the range, SD, and max. Are those means for the date from the period of record?? Because they certainly can't be means of the forecast ranges. (Can they?)

FWIW - different subject here - California has always had periodic rain-on-snow events, ever since the first records and no doubt before there were numerical records, I'm sure there are anecdotal reports of them from say the mid-1800s. And some of those have been huge. The expectation is that we will henceforth be having more, and/or bigger rain-on-snow events. Formerly, these might have been discounted as being just the really rare oddball, and not adequately addressed in management prescriptions, but they're not, they're a regular thing.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:43pm PT
hey there, say, all... just checking out, the shares, here...

say, labrat, :O

oh my, NEVER had heard of that...

terrible, :O (the dam) :(


though, thank you for sharing in the info...
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:44pm PT
hey there say, timid... thanks for the update...
TLP

climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 09:52pm PT
Back to the dam, any experts here want to chime in on the subject as to why the emergency spillway has nothing but dirt underneath it...

There is more to it than stated by Ken M. Whatever the case was in the 1960s when it was built is not that relevant. This issue was raised by written public comments during relicensing in roughly 2005, maybe even an appeal or litigation (not sure about either of those). FERC ignored those comments, without a doubt because the big water customers, like LA MWD, didn't want to pay the cost of building a proper armored auxiliary spillway, and they have clout or buddies. Now all state taxpayers, not just those water users, will pay for both the emergency repairs and new spillways afterward.

That said, there are other big dams with unarmored emergency spillways: New Don Pedro and/or New Melones, maybe others. I bet people will be taking a close look at those, as well as the primaries, this summer.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 10:08pm PT
Your last graph there from AFPS has a puzzling aspect which I could probably figure out by going there, but if you know the answer quickly, that would be dandy. The blue dots for "Dist Mean" are all well below the minimums, not to mention the range, SD, and max. Are those means for the date from the period of record?? Because they certainly can't be means of the forecast ranges. (Can they?)

the blue dots and red bars are the mean and standard deviation for the forecast flow rates... for some reason the plot I originally put up was a bit wonky... I reran the forecast and got the plot currently on that post.

this makes much more sense as the means are within the min/max limits...

not sure what happened before.




as for weather records before 1910, I suspect that there doesn't exist enough information to infer the watershed area for the Feather River system. I haven't looked though. But certainly not much information before the mid-1800s.

That situation has also changed, see for instance:
Prolonged California aridity linked to climate warming and Pacific sea surface temperature

How unusual is the 2012–2014 California drought?

Anthropogenic warming has increased drought risk in California
john hansen

climber
Feb 16, 2017 - 10:21pm PT
I was kind of unsure to post this, because I dont have the link where I saw it, but I had read that the emergency spill way was built on - "mechanically compacted soil".

If you look at the photos of the erosion below the E spillway it looks as thou this could be the case. Soil with cobbles , the same as the main dam.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:23pm PT
I suspect DWR's decision to lower the Outflow rate to 80K cfs...

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?s=ORO




...is based on this forecast. Fingers crossed that the main spillway continues to hold up at that Outflow rate.



August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:26pm PT
The prescriptions are predicated on the idea that the "conservation pool" is sufficient to store any additional inflow and avoid what happened, and recall that what happened is that they filled the reservoir to the flood control limit but were unable to raise the outflow sufficiently high to compensate for the next storm.

Is the above in reference to what just happened or '97?

For what just happened, the primary thing that wrong is that the main spillway had an unexpected problem that led to the events that caused the flow over the emergency spillway. Without the erosion on the main spillway, they could have released enough water through the main spillway and nobody on ST (or CA media) would be talking about Oroville.

I agree they should redo their operation books, take into account that rain is more likely than it used to be and take into account that 5 to 10 day weather forecasts are, way, way better than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

But farmers have huge political clout and there is hell to pay when CA goes into a drought with full reservoirs. If a drought started after a spring in which they lowered the reservoirs but the rain veered too far off track...

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:29pm PT
TT, the flood control diagram says they have to get the capacity down to 2780000

Is the above in reference to what just happened or '97?

what just happened

I agree (and said up thread) that there are limits to how much they can release down stream... but the point of the flood control diagrams are that they prevent floods from happening...


August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:41pm PT
There seems to be some misunderstanding of the Sacramento releases from Keswick Dam on Lake Shasta and it's relation to the Feather River.

Currently, Keswick Dam is releasing the maximum that can be sent downstream. The Sacramento is at or near flood stage in most of Tehama County..

The Feather River joins the Sacramento near the little farm town of Nicholas, off the Garden Highway about 30 or so miles upstream of Sacramento.

This meeting of the rivers may become the new problem area if the Sunday, Monday rain event meets or exceeds precipitation predictions.

They have been dropping the water level at Oroville and Shasta still has some space in it. None of the people I've talked to informally have expressed any concerns about the storms being big enough to threaten anything downstream of where the Feather comes into the Sacramento.

The main question seems to be is how much will have to be released down the main spillway and how much damage it will cause.

The damage to the emergency spillway certainly spooked them (as it should). Which is the silver lining in all of this. The damage to the main spillway created a situation where a relatively small flow went over the emergency spillway and showed that there is a real problem that needs fixing. Without the original damage, the emergency spillway would, presumably, have continued to be ignored and some day in the future its first use might have been at a much higher flow with a catastrophic outcome.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:42pm PT
TT, the flood control diagram says they have to get the capacity down to 2780000

at 80K cfs that's ~48 hours to achieve the flood mitigation target before the pineapple expess arrives

looks like there could be some flooding
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 16, 2017 - 11:52pm PT
With what we can now confidently reconstruct of weather extremes of the past, sometimes thousands of years, dam construction, maintenance, and eventual deconstruction and replacement is a necessary place to employ a healthy dose of the precautionary principle. One major failure can negate decades of benefits. At this point I hope your governor can put his toy train away long enough for the neccessary investment to keep further potentially catastrophic existing infrastructure failure at bay. Maybe the residents should demand it.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 17, 2017 - 12:11am PT
looks like the pineapple express arrives Sunday night carrying 10 inches in ~ 24 hrs

DWR plans to reduce Outflow to 60K cfs on Saturday. My guess is that they've decided to risk some flooding rather than risk further damage to the main spillway knowing full well that any use of the emergency spillway is to be avoided. If the main spillway exhibits additional signs of damage (e.g., significant headward erosion or fracturing of the surrounding bedrock) during the next couple of days, that will probably trigger another evacuation.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oroville-weather-forecast-20170216-story.html
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 17, 2017 - 08:44am PT
Based on this weather forecast/simulation, looks like Pineapples will arrive Mon 2/20 4-7 am


https://www.ventusky.com/?p=39.8;-123.5;5&l=rain-3h&t=20170220/12&m=gfs
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 17, 2017 - 09:30am PT
Holding steady @ ~ 80K cfs Outflow...


cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 17, 2017 - 09:55am PT
my point is that this forecast is not used in make flood control decisions.

I'm not so sure that's always true - I notice a ramping up of releases from Folsom Reservoir 3-4 days ahead of the January pineapple express storm (of course that's run by USBR, not DWR).

I've also heard discussion of designing flood control operations taking into account forecasting... which would have the effect of making the operations less conservative, not more conservative. (e.g. more water saved for summer). The old flood operations aren't taking into account forecasting, but they are designed to account for maximum credible storm inflows to protect downstream communities.

Just my 2-cents heresay - if i had more time I'd look into this further.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:24am PT
the current issue with the Oroville dam flood control diagram is nicely illustrated by TT's plot above, and the 1997 weather behavior which was much more like the historic record, that is, after the "unusual" rain in early January, that year settled into the usual snow fall in the Sierra, which released later in the spring and summer. The plot shows that it might be difficult to reach prescribed flood control volume in time to mitigate the next winter storm. This causes problems for the dam operators (having to make use of the "emergency spillway" and to pass the inflow out as quickly as possible, thus flooding downstream areas).

When it rains all winter, the basic assumptions of the history based flood control diagrams is not met. So the designed "conservation pool" has to be managed differently. By filling the reservoir in mid January there was little "leeway" for additional wet winter storms, there have been two, and a third on the way. That coupled with the need to manage the spillway outflow, and to prevent downstream flooding (that is what flood control is about) certainly raise questions (and these are not new questions) regarding the management of the system.

rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:30am PT
Started snowing here at 5500'. At least the precipitation is starting as snow at comparatively low altitude. Keep your fingers crossed.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:39am PT
This is what I'm talking about - Folsom operators are bouncing the levels around that TOC line - actively releasing ahead of forecasts. Oroville was not doing that.

There has been a lot of criticism in the past 4-5 years of dam operators releasing water and not saving it during drought. I've heard that most operations guides were developed in the 80s and 90s, before 10-day forecasting became reliable. Many were saying that operations *with forecasting* could run the water levels higher, because they'd have a week or so to dump desperately if a big storm were forecasted.


WBraun

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:45am PT
Makes sense cleo

You and Ed should be the dam operators .....

cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:46am PT
Well there is a DWR job opening...
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 17, 2017 - 11:45am PT
Check out this post from the metabunk.org blog site RE variability in the quality of the bedrock beneath the spillways...

Rock Whisperer, and others, have reported that the bedrock in the area of both spillways is of variable quality. Some portion of it is competent rock and this appears in the images in a blue gray shade. Other portions appear to be subject to weathering or oxidation such that the rock becomes friable. This weathered rock takes on a reddish / orange hue. One poster with experience rock climbing in the the area around Chico and Oroville suggests the weathered rock will not hold the weight of a human being.

I have some experience dealing with corrosion events which are similar processes to rock weathering. Both are oxidation events. Oxidation may be accelerated by both water and heat. Since California has experienced a number of years of drought it is clear there was an extended period during which little use was made of the flood control spillway. Local rain would still have fallen and this may have passed through cracks in the spillway floor. The cement floor of the spillway would have heated during the day and this may have resulted in heat transfer to any voids beneath the spillway floor. The result may have been accelerated weathering of once competent rock.

If we now move forward in time to the present day with its high levels of rainfall then it is possible some amount of this rainfall percolated into the control joints between abutting slabs. This rainfall may have filled any existing voids and initiated a new drainage path through the weathered rock bypassing the installed drainage system and inhibiting water from exiting the "missing" drain in the image annotated by Mick presented in post 844.

Once the flood control spillway was put back in service the additional water, and the increased head, would have acted to initiate scour along any new drainage path. Over a period of time this would ultimately remove a significant amount of under-burden and enlarge the void to the point that the spillway floor suffered a collapse. Given the volume of water, and the high pressures, any incipient point of failure would quickly be enlarged, the material support for the spillway floor would be removed and the floor slabs would fail, likely collapsing into the void and then being hammered and broken by the water flow. The outcome would be something akin to what may be viewed on the images of the workers inspecting the flood control spillway after the the large void developed.

This also serves to explain why the point of failure has not "marched uphill" toward the sluice control structure. The drainage system above the damaged area is functioning as it should, the water is being drained from beneath the slab and there is no opportunity for the creation of alternate, destructive, drainage path.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 17, 2017 - 12:09pm PT
As a geotechnical engineer, I think the above analysis is likely spot on...

Minor erosion under the spillway during 4-5 years of drought due to ??? soil collapse or chemical weathering OR due to hillslope saturation/heavy rain -->

Minor concrete cracking and infiltration of water -->

Accelerated Erosion underneath -->

Loss of support under Concrete Spillway + Heavy Water Load (has the spillway been loaded in 5 years?) -->

Collapse.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 17, 2017 - 05:09pm PT
...I'm figuring our how to retire and am failing miserably
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17, 2017 - 06:31pm PT
In 1975, the Banqiao Dam in China failed. There were an estimated 171,000 dead and 11 million people displaced. Don't buy a house below a dam, unless you want to die quickly. The worst one in U.S. history was the Jonestown disaster back in the 1800's. It was in Pennsylvania, about 2,200 died.
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Feb 17, 2017 - 06:39pm PT
^^Holy crap. I had no idea. 1 in 2000 year flood! From Wikipedia ^^

Typhoon Nina
The heaviest rainfall was recorded along the Banqiao Dam where 1,631 mm (64.2 in) of rain fell, 830 mm (33 in) of which fell in a six-hour span.[10] These rains led to the collapse of the Banqiao Dam, which received 1-in-2000-year flood conditions. In all, 62 dams failed during the disaster
WBraun

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 06:50pm PT
When I was in Borneo on top of a 1500 foot tower in a typhoon the rain was so powerful and hard it crushed our emergency tent.

The river below rose 10 feet during the night .....
john hansen

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 07:04pm PT
Finally found some photos of the progress of the repairs below the emergency
spillway. Around 9:30 this morning.

I hope they can get the rip rap all the way along the base to protect the first 100 feet from the spillway at least, before it overflows again.

Click on the photos to enlarge. The one at bottom right shows what is really getting done,, those big areas of concrete could divert the water in unknown ways. Those concrete pumps can do pump an 11 yard truck in less then 15 minutes.. some construction and concrete companies are making some money right now.




https://twitter.com/CA_DWR/status/832644089359192064
Bargainhunter

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 07:04pm PT
In my personal experience,
increased head
would definitely
have acted to initiate scour along any new drainage path
c wilmot

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 07:10pm PT
Rip rap or any dry stone structure needs a solidly anchored base to be built upon. I hope I am wrong but I am doubtful those rock piles will hold if the overflow is put to use.
john hansen

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 07:43pm PT
Wilmot, I feel somewhat the same. I don't think the emergency spillway was built down to bedrock. I also think I read some where it was built on compacted fill , although I cant find where I read it.

To me the problem is when a ravine, or canyon, whatever you want to call it starts eroding it will keep cutting back at the top end, just like in the photos taken before the repairs. They have filled these with boulders , bags and slurry, but this would only funnel water into the area under the center
of the spillway. This could erode back to the base of the structure and undermine the spillway.




I will try to find the source about it being built on compacted earth.


Having done a lot of earth and concrete work, but never on this scale, I would think the spillway would have a pretty big footing maybe 40 feet wide and 10 feet or more deep.

That footing would be flat along the bottom built up with "compacted fill to grade". Probably the same stuff as the main dam.

B.O.F = Bottom of footing on any set of engineering plan.

Some where there is a grading plan for the dam.

I wonder about a topo map pre 1964
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Feb 17, 2017 - 08:18pm PT
Hoping they didn't outsource the compaction to the chinese...
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
Feb 17, 2017 - 08:27pm PT
that is one dam precocious gully
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 17, 2017 - 08:33pm PT
fyi...


emergency spillway damage...not clear to me what was the original engineering design for the emergency spillway. Whatever it was, it failed miserably in record time.


main spillway damage...



aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
Yes, the Chinese dam disaster was so gigantic in its scale. They got 7 inches of rain per hour, and 40 or so inches in one day. Read the write up in WIKI; about 60 other dams failed due to that one storm. It was basically a typhoon that stalled and dumped epic amounts of rain.
TLP

climber
Feb 17, 2017 - 10:03pm PT
rj, that is hilarious!

John Hansen, I can answer some of your questions. The pre-dam topography included a saddle at an elevation of somewhere between 850 and 875 almost precisely below the location of the concrete of the emergency spillway weir, at 901. Before any construction, they would certainly have removed the ordinary soil, and maybe also some fairly highly weathered rock, right at the saddle. For simplicity, let's say that subgrade is about 850. The weir itself is some 10 or maybe 15 feet of concrete (maybe more), but that still means that there's 35 feet of engineered fill below the concrete of the weir. I might be mistaken, but still it is nearly certain that there's SOME compacted fill between bedrock and the base of the weir construction. There are links to the original construction plans, post up again if you really want to see these and I'll chase down the link.

This is certainly the source of their extreme alarm upon seeing how close the erosion got to that concrete. There's only the tiniest energy dissipation apron at its base. If there was turbulent overflow getting at the compacted fill, the weir could have failed in a big hurry.

On the happy side, if they can extend the concrete-grouted boulders all the way from the weir toe to that one single concentrated gully on the grayish rock, they'll be relatively happy campers. That's the original tributary path, pre-dam, so a LOT of concentrated flow could stay in it, well behaved, for months. That pre-dam (and now activated present lower emergency channel) is on the really hard rock, same stuff that is still sitting there at the base of the main spillway waterfall. That's some very compentent material.

Now, the bad news about the new emergency apron is, there's no sub drains. So if there's any significant amount of seepage into it from whatever source, soil will soften and pressure will build, and the apron could break apart a bit. But even if it does, it might stay in place for just barely long enough to make it to summer - even if the emergency spillway does come into play.

Back to good news, the main one is holding up really really well in its damaged condition, with days of huge flows (100,000 cfs) down it. If they can just keep on with that one, they'll make it OK to next summer's incredibly pressurized schedule to construct a completely new spillway before October. The engineers and construction managers will need a whole damn oil tanker of Red Bull to get that done.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Feb 18, 2017 - 05:46am PT
I would say this is dam well fawked. Criminal negligence really. But blame it on the rain.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 18, 2017 - 07:56am PT
hey there, say, DMT.. thanks for sharing the maps...

also, tuolumne_tradster:
thanks for updates...

so, it is MONDAY now, though, not sunday?


also, thanks for shares, cleo,
interesting to hear from someone in this field (related field)
well, you know what i mean...
and, from ed, too...


and well, all of you, as well...

hoping the best, for everyone concerned...
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 18, 2017 - 08:45am PT
The worst one in U.S. history was the Jonestown disaster back in the 1800's. It was in Pennsylvania, about 2,200 died.
That was actually the Johnstown Flood (1889).

The Jonestown disaster (1978) was a bit different. Over 900 people died, but the problem liquid wasn't rain water - it was Flavor-Aid (often incorrectly reported as Kool-Aid).
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 18, 2017 - 10:44am PT
Water managers issued evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 Californians just hours before they thought an emergency spillway at Oroville dam could fail. Emergency officials said it would send a 30 foot wall of water downstream.

That might be hard to imagine, but a computer simulation by UC Santa Cruz research geophysicist Steven Ward shows flood waters would hit highway 70 in about 30 minutes. In less than three hours, it would hit Highway 99. After 9 hours, it would fan out to cover a 231-square mile area.

Ward says it would be a massive wave near Oroville. The videos of the main spillway releasing 100,000 cubic feet per second pale in comparison.

“We’ve seen all week the videos of the regular spillway operating at full speed at about 100,000 cubic feet per second. This partial break is about 20 times that. It’s going to overpower the dikes and levees for sure,” says Ward.

Emergency spillway failure simulation...
[Click to View YouTube Video]
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 18, 2017 - 10:55am PT
check out this photo posted on the metabunk.org blog site by rock whisperer...

Freshly excavated hillside in 1968 showing the two main bedrock units, likely sheeted dikes(between blue lines) and the metavolcanics. Note the varying composition within the metavolcanics, light yellow-orange, dark orange, and very light grays, extending deep underground. Apparent dip to the layers is to the west. What are the circles on peoples heads?

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 18, 2017 - 11:25am PT
here's an update based on data from...

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?s=ORO


jstan

climber
Feb 18, 2017 - 11:29am PT
..I'm figuring our how to retire and am failing miserably

Seriously doubt that. Most likely your problem is that you still enjoy the work.

Retirement forces one to make a couple of irreversible decisions. Spreadsheets helped me make those.
Working a few extra years and saving as much as possible helps one avoid having to take investment
risk. There are claims now that inflation is starting to stir. In the face of overpopulation I wonder how
there can be increased wages. If so decreased standards of living are assured. Money today certainly
has no time value, to speak of.

I am watching Japan as a guide to what is ahead for us. Hopefully prewar Germany does not become
the more appropriate model.

Have been watching Oroville. The hole in the main spillway does not seem to have a ten foot thick
concrete slab underneath. Even had it this, that slab has to end somewhere. A flow of several acre
feet per second in a narrow channel can move anything. The river itself needs to be widened and
made hard downstream. What we have here is a failure to match impedances.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Feb 18, 2017 - 06:22pm PT
Bumping this to help get the trump spam off the front page.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 18, 2017 - 06:31pm PT
In the face of overpopulation I wonder how
there can be increased wages.

Actually, the main problem is that a high percentage of Americans are not
trained or educated in the right fields to make it in an increasingly
competitive world. That's why being a plumber is such a good career, as
long as yer not prone to licking yer fingers.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Feb 19, 2017 - 03:28am PT
I'm hoping for the best over the next couple of days.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 19, 2017 - 10:26am PT
That thang creeps me out! I knew I shouldn't have watched the vid - I'm gonna have
a nightmare tonight!
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Feb 19, 2017 - 11:41am PT
That Glory Hole creep me out almost at much as that Planet Earth snakes-iguana video *shudder*

(google it)
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 19, 2017 - 11:57am PT
squirt boats only
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 19, 2017 - 12:32pm PT
Flow cut back to 55KCFS so engineers can get better look at damage.

Facebook live video:

https://www.facebook.com/FoxNews/videos/vb.15704546335/10155128737211336/?type=3&theater
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 19, 2017 - 12:46pm PT
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-oroville-spillway-failure-20170216-story.html


Bill Croyle stood in front of an aerial photo of Lake Oroville and swept his hand across the top of the emergency spillway that was helping drain water out of the brimming reservoir. “Solid rock. All this is rock,” Croyle, acting director of the Department of Water Resources, said with an air of confidence at the Feb. 11 briefing.

Interviews and records suggest that the near-catastrophe grew out of fundamental problems with the original design of the emergency spillway that were never corrected despite questions about its adequacy.

The “solid” bedrock that Croyle thought would stand up to the force of the spill was soft and easily eroded. The long concrete lip of the spillway was not anchored into the rock. Critical power lines were strung across the spillway, which consists of nothing more than an earthen hillside covered with trees and brush.

“There is no way to rationalize running water down a hillslope with deep soils and a forest on it and weak bedrock,” said Jeffrey Mount, a UC Davis emeritus professor of geology and expert on California water.

Federal and state officials said the cause of the spillway’s near-failure was under investigation.

Photo of the emergency spillway taken on Feb 12, 2017 shortly before the emergency evacuation was ordered.

NOTE: Bill Croyle was appointed acting DWR director by governor Brown in Dec 2016. Croyle, a Civil Engineer, had been on the job a little over a month when he made those statements regarding the emergency spillway.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 19, 2017 - 12:49pm PT
I can't imagine a "wet" permanent patch, so they'll have to "get by" until spring, when the work can get done. I imagine a lot of planning going on right now, and wrangling over who pays.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 19, 2017 - 02:25pm PT
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 19, 2017 - 02:41pm PT
Impressive photo.

Obviously, the primary spillway will have to be more or less entirely rebuilt.

Probably after an emergency spillway worthy of the name is completed.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 19, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
Once the spring runoff is over all of the flow can go through the power plant and the outlet that goes through the dam.

So I would think that there will be repairs made on both the main spillway and the emergency spillway at the same time this summer.

I'm still curious about cost and how quickly they can finish.

If it drags into next winter how much of the lake will they drain?
John M

climber
Feb 19, 2017 - 03:57pm PT
https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/

This thread was posted earlier. It appears to have some knowledgeable people on it, but thats not always easy to tell as not everyone identifies their background. A few have said it might take more then one year to rebuild the main spillway based on how long it took to build other spillways. One person said it could be done in one summer. If I remember correctly,, ( its a long thread ) that person did say that if they weren't able to finish in one summer, then they might build a hardened end on the main spillway up where it still remains and is connected to bedrock, so that it doesn't erode back up to the main spillway gates.

As for cost. I don't believe anyone knows. 1/2 a billion to one billion has been bandied about on the above thread.

I also found on that thread where they linked plans to the emergency spillway. Its hard to tell from the plans what exactly was done. But it appears that the emergency spillway is concrete and is probably built on bedrock. The problem was that the downstream side was not hardened. The plans seem to show it being concrete and one person who said they had an engineering background said it wasn't large enough to be a fill covered by cement. its size says it wouldn't have enough weight to hold back the water, so that person determined that it must be cement.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
hey there say, DMT... wow, with more of a share on that
lake berryessa spillway hole, man oh man, :O

poor ducks, ??? if they get too close...
that sure doesn't seem good, yet:

it's been what?? operating for a long time?
man oh man, the things, we learn here,
at supertopo, :) ...oh my... :O

i am going to go read up on it, now, thanks
for sharing...




say, weather wise,
HOW ARE the dams holding up, right now, after the newest storm????
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2017 - 04:32pm PT
hey there, say, DMT...

wow, so far, just saw this...

news info, from 2 days ago:


SOME INFO:
http://www.wgal.com/article/california-lake-berryessas-glory-hole-to-spill-over-for-first-time-in-10-years/8947228


NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (SF Gate) —

For the first time in 10 years, water is expected to flow into Lake Berryessa's unique spillway, called the Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway -- but commonly known as the Glory Hole.


"A rough estimate is we expect it might start spilling tomorrow, Friday, or this weekend," McBride said.


The lake level was at 439.8 feet as of 9 a.m. Thursday and needs to rise about two inches to reach full capacity and kick the Glory Hole into full operation.
PS:
(the article says, it DOES have a main spillway, as well--short but interesting news update)


...into the mouth of the 8-foot-wide pipe that dumps excess water down a 200-foot-long pipe into Putah Creek.




EDIT:

OOOPS, UPDATE, from one day ago:

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/18/glory-glory-water-spills-into-glory-hole-at-lake-berryessa/



edit:
oh no! :(
Swimming near the Glory Hole is prohibited.[16] The exit of the spillway is well known in the skateboarding world as a full-pipe. Emily Schwalen of Davis died in 1997 after swimming toward the Glory Hole and getting sucked down the pipe.[17]

and, i had only wondered about ducks, :(
my condolences to the family, of so long agao, :(
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 19, 2017 - 05:45pm PT
You kind of have to be at least somewhat amazed at just how flimsy and minimal the main spillway design and construction was and that anyone could somehow think that constituted an acceptable engineering solution.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2017 - 05:53pm PT
hey there say, ... another thought, for me...

i am suddenly wondering all the history, behind all these dams,
and what it was like, before them...


i am not really smart enough to understand all the tech stuff,
though, though i sure appreciate all the shares on all this,
as well...


you know, you just do NOT think about any of this, until:

the dams get over loaded, etc...



say,
JUST SOME STUFF, if anyone is interested...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello_Dam



also, found this, --this is part TWO...
(but the other parts, must be around, as well) ...

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/death-of-monticello-was-a-heartbreaker/article_5a2687d8-ea83-11e1-a694-0019bb2963f4.html/
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 19, 2017 - 06:12pm PT
hey there say, ... me too, tami!!! ... very much interested in all this...

say, happy good eve, so nice to hear from you...


gotta run, now... night-night, will check
back later, :)

and many thanks yous, too, :)
to all, :)
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 19, 2017 - 06:15pm PT
You kind of have to be at least somewhat amazed at just how flimsy and minimal the main spillway design and construction was and that anyone could somehow think that constituted an acceptable engineering solution.
Yes.

And also with the approach toward inspection and readiness, which seems to be along the lines of "As long as nothing has failed, we'll assume nothing ever will. Inspections and backup plans are best put off until it's clear that you really need them."
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 19, 2017 - 06:15pm PT
Tami, it doesn't swirl cause it just drops straight down and it doesn't matter once it hits the bend at the bottom - kinda like all the retards hitting the front door of Walmart on Black Friday.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Feb 19, 2017 - 06:30pm PT
You have to forgive the water authorities for squandering the maintenance opportunity they had during the long dry period when the lake was practically empty. They probably believed the climate scientists who said we're in the midst of a 500-year drought, and figured they had all the time they needed to run out the clock to retirement without doing anything.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 19, 2017 - 06:58pm PT
They probably believed the climate scientists who said we're in the midst of a 500-year drought...

where'd you read that, Chaz?
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Feb 19, 2017 - 07:01pm PT
You ever google something when you have a question about it?

Googling "california 500 year drought" turns up 870,000 results.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 19, 2017 - 07:02pm PT
wow, and you believe every one of those?

why'd I ask, of course you do...

and you definition of drought?
certainly a wet year in 500 wouldn't matter much.

most of the top hits say that the current drought was the worst in 500 years, not that we're in the middle of a 500 year drought....
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 19, 2017 - 07:46pm PT
In response to Sula's & healyje's posts ^^^

In addition to engineering design flaws and construction and maintenance deficiencies, the underlying bedrock geology probably also contributed to the main spillway failure. It is evident from this photo and other photos posted on this thread ^^^ and the metabunk.org threads that the meta-volcanic bedrock beneath the main spillway varies considerably in terms of rock quality and erodibility. Not all bedrock is created equal. Unfortunately the evidence is gone, as the weak bedrock that decoupled from the spillway foundation anchors has been eroded away and transported down the Feather River. If you look closely, you can see the anchor bolts hanging from the spillway foundation.


Given that the bedrock units are primarily metamorphosed volcanic (primarily basalt) and volcani-clastic rocks of the Smartville Ophiolite Complex, the bedrock material that eroded from beneath the main spillway was probably "soft" and erodible due to hydrothermal alteration (i.e., chemical and physical alteration by caustic geothermal fluids that migrate along fractures and/or faults) common in ophiolite sequences. Additional recent chemical weathering may have further weakened the bedrock.

All this in the context of a series of atmospheric river storms following a prolonged drought...
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 19, 2017 - 07:49pm PT
In the news today, they are talking about flooding on the San Joaquin river near Manteca; also there were vague references to flooding on the Merced and Tuolumne as well. Any locals have news?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:07pm PT

Scott Stine, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay, has spent decades studying tree stumps in Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake, the Walker River and other parts of the Sierra Nevada.

Excerpted from an article citing his work, published in the San Jose Mercury News in 2014:

Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years -- compared to the mere three-year duration of the current dry spell. The two most severe megadroughts make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s look tame: a 240-year-long drought that started in 850 and, 50 years after the conclusion of that one, another that stretched at least 180 years.

Looking back, the long-term record also shows some staggeringly wet periods. The decades between the two medieval megadroughts, for example, delivered years of above-normal rainfall -- the kind that would cause devastating floods today. But Stine, who has spent decades studying tree stumps in Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake, the Walker River and other parts of the Sierra Nevada, said that the past century has been among the wettest of the last 7,000 years.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:14pm PT
^^^^That certainly puts the currently ended drought into perspective.

I wonder if there are accurate enough records of 1861-2 for comparison with this seasons precip. Immediately preceding the great flood of 1862 there was a much longer drought than this 500 year record drought Ed mentions.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:21pm PT
You ever google something when you have a question about it?

Googling "california 500 year drought" turns up 870,000 results.

Chaz, if you google "green cheese moon", you get 1,230,000 hits. Must mean that the odds of the moon being made of green cheese is even higher????
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:27pm PT
According to the USGS ARkStorm report...

From an historical vantage point, USGS sediment research in the San Francisco Bay Area and also near Santa Barbara indicate that ‘ARkstorm-like’ floods have occurred in the past in the following years A.D.: 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, 1605, and then during the modern era in December 1861-January 1862. So we see a pattern of reoccurrence once every 165-400 years.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1312/
Yury

Mountain climber
T.O.
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:31pm PT
Tami

The glory hole shown in the video there is a straight funnel.

Why isn't the design a counterclockwise spiralling thing?

I'm thinking that might make the water go down the hole with more efficiency.
Tami, the opposite is true.
Water vortex decreases throughput.

You may conduct your own research next time you do your laundry or flush your toilet. :)
john hansen

climber
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:37pm PT
This Mercury news seems to get some hard to find photos of the progress they are making.


http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/19/oroville-dam-dramatic-photos-show-damage-to-dams-emergency-spillway/
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 19, 2017 - 08:44pm PT
DWR just released several videos of the Oroville dam repair work...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxgtyOfwrj8&index=1&list=PLeod6x87Tu6eVFnSyEtQeOVbxvSWywPlx
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 19, 2017 - 09:59pm PT
John M, that metabunk link had some good info.

Thanks
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 19, 2017 - 11:11pm PT
I would have expected more like 3-4' thick side walls a couple of feet taller and the spillway bed to be 2-3' thick with no soil under it anywhere and anchored to bedrock with piers. The existing spillway bed looks about as thick and robust as the average Las Vegas subdivision scrape-and-pour slab jobs.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Feb 20, 2017 - 06:23am PT

Scott Stine, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay, has spent decades studying tree stumps in Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake, the Walker River and other parts of the Sierra Nevada.

Excerpted from an article citing his work, published in the San Jose Mercury News in 2014:

Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years -- compared to the mere three-year duration of the current dry spell. The two most severe megadroughts make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s look tame: a 240-year-long drought that started in 850 and, 50 years after the conclusion of that one, another that stretched at least 180 years.

Looking back, the long-term record also shows some staggeringly wet periods. The decades between the two medieval megadroughts, for example, delivered years of above-normal rainfall -- the kind that would cause devastating floods today. But Stine, who has spent decades studying tree stumps in Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake, the Walker River and other parts of the Sierra Nevada, said that the past century has been among the wettest of the last 7,000 years.

Moral of the story(study) the trees survived. Think like a tree California!?


Yesterday we stopped by a friends house. While we were there his renter called, all excited over the neighbor below cutting down trees on the bottom of the property. For some background on this, several of the many trees on the property have fallen down recently, one destroying another neighbors fence, so when this guy asked to "take down a couple trees", my friend gave him permission.

The excited and concerned renter, "Hey, that's a lot of trees you're cutting down!"
Neighbor, "I am trying to get some winter sun to shine on my property."
Renter, "Then you should move to Arizona."

Oh boy.

:)
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 20, 2017 - 07:16am PT
This is a great thread everyone. I read it with my morning coffee:)

@ Clinker^ Bristlecone tree ring data confirms all that BTW^^^ Right at the end of the season we installed a 30' long interpretive display up at the Schulman Visitor's Center recording 8000 years of ring widths. Extreme drought and rain periods are the norm over the millennias and the trees always recover eventually.

It's all very dramatic to us short-lived humans.

A related side to your second story- A friend in LA has a back yard with a steep hillside. The uphill neighbor sited a concern over a single dying tree (in a line of mature pine trees) on my buddy's side of the property line and asked if they could remove it. My buddy said "sure". Next thing - they came home one day and every single tree (living and dead) on the hill was removed.

Turns out the neighbor was putting in an infinity swimming pool and didn't want any trees blocking their view. ;(

Another "Oh boy"
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Feb 20, 2017 - 10:02am PT
Maid...that same thing happened to some friends except that no permission was granted....came home and their trees were gone....sued and got cashed out...
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2017 - 10:38am PT
Latest Oroville dam update very good

[Click to View YouTube Video]
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 20, 2017 - 12:09pm PT
hey there say, werner... thanks for the update...

i was just going to try and see what was up...
thank you... helped so much!

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 20, 2017 - 12:33pm PT
Here's the latest data from the CDEC website...

Storage Capacity (2,794,558 Ac ft) & Water Level (848.97 ft) holding steady. (Flood control levels SC = 2,780,000 Ac Ft & WL = 850 ft).

1 inch of rain in the last 12 hours. Inflow (57,081 cfs) just below Outflow (59,899 cfs) at the main spillway.

jstan

climber
Feb 20, 2017 - 12:46pm PT
For full screen image:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCHQv_P07DI


tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 20, 2017 - 05:25pm PT
Don Pedro spillway now being used...

Bonds Flat Rd below Don Pedro spillway

Detours in effect...

more info here...
https://twitter.com/TuolumneSheriff
john hansen

climber
Feb 20, 2017 - 07:57pm PT
Here is a video showing the damage under the emergency spillway the day it started over flowing.

So much erosion at only 12500 cfs .

You can skip the first 30 seconds if you want to get right to the scary stuff.

Imagine if that thing had 40,000 or even 60,000 cfs going over it..

Thanks , Werner and Jstan for the links above, looks like they have done a lot but they still have a lot of work to do to protect it so they can make it to summer.


It looks like they have lowered the water behind the dam enough to handle this storm.





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzcQjvH3idU
Don'tKnowHim

Social climber
California
Feb 22, 2017 - 07:04pm PT
It is my understanding that "water bonds" were issued under both "Arnold" and ol' uncle Jerry, yet the money was never spent. Where is that money now?
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:23am PT
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/28/oroville-dam-operators-stop-flow-down-spillway-see-extensive-damage/






tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 28, 2017 - 07:05pm PT
This drone video really shows the damage to the main spillway and the underlying, exposed bedrock, now that all the soil and "soft" bedrock has been removed...

[Click to View YouTube Video]
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2017 - 07:14pm PT
This will be the new version of "The Money Pit".

"How long?"

"Two weeks!"
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 28, 2017 - 08:50pm PT
t-tradster what do you make of those freshly-exposed blue-green rocks that weather to red?

Here's my $0.02...
From what I can tell looking at the photos/videos and reading the literature without actually standing and looking at these fresh outcrops, it looks to me like a succession of island arc, volcanic (tholeiitic basalt) and volcaniclastic rocks that have been subjected to green schist facies metamorphism in a subduction zone. These rocks are part of the Smartville Ophiolite Complex (SOC), so they've undergone a series of tectonic events that took them from a deep marine trench environment to the sierra foothills. In addition, the SOC contains sheeted basalt dikes that presumably formed in a back arc spreading center and Granodiorite to Gabbro intrusions that are exposed just east of the metavolcanic rocks. You can see this relationship in the geologic map that I posted ^^^

I suspect that some of this material has been thermally and chemically altered by hydrothermal fluids along preferential pathways such as fracture systems or faults which has resulted in "weak or soft" bedrock that was vulnerable to mechanical and chemical weathering in the current environment. The red coloration in the rock, soil, and river, is most likely associated with iron oxides commonly associated with hydrothermal alteration and chemical weathering. Other minerals that could be present include chlorite (a clay mineral), talc, and possibly epidote. Some of the red coloration is due to iron oxidation in the bedrock matrix and some is due to staining of the bedrock rock from the adjacent, iron rich soil.

Although the bedrock is mostly dense and hard metamorphosed basalt, it is highly fractured, faulted, and in some places altered by hydrothermal fluids. My guess is that the main spillway was located on a major segment of bedrock that exhibited some of these weaknesses and became vulnerable to failure due to recent (last 10K years) weathering and then > 100K cfs water with tremendous erosive capacity.

http://gsabulletin.gsapubs.org/content/99/6/779.abstract
stunewberry

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:11pm PT
Also interesting in the video as the flow just about stops how much erosion is actively happening along the right (facing downstream) side just below the lip. Lots of boulders still being dislodged and the water turns to mud, while the left side stays pretty much clear.

If there is that much active erosion going on as the flow stops, why didn't it erode all the way to the gates when the flow was 100K cfs?
feralfae

Boulder climber
in the midst of a metaphysical mystery
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:25pm PT
Does the amount of erosion present any concerns about the integrity of the dam and its adjoining wings of native stone? Could that amount of erosion destabilize the physics of the configuration of the dam, especially with the level of the water behind it?

Am I worrying about nothing?

Thank you
feralfae
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:30pm PT
hey there say, august west, and tuolumne_tradster..

thanks for the updates... oh my...

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 28, 2017 - 09:37pm PT
There are ultra-mafic (peridotite) and serpentine (hydrated olivine and pyroxene) outcrops east of the Oroville reservoir that are associated with the regional northwest trending Melones fault zone. Serpentine is commonly associated with ophiolites. They represent the basal layer of the Ophiolite Sequence, the upper mantle, that has been hydrated as it ascends up through the crust to the surface along regional, deep seated faults.



One of the largest outcrops of Serpentine in California is the Cedars north of Cazadero associated with the Coastal belt Franciscan Complex.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1410539&msg=1411905#msg1411905
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:03pm PT
If there is that much active erosion going on as the flow stops, why didn't it erode all the way to the gates when the flow was 100K cfs?

The headward erosion that occurred at the emergency spillway is exactly why they called for an evacuation. The ~ 30 ft wall below the emergency spillway was in danger of failure as the high flow rates immediately began eroding that soil and vegetated "emergency spillway" slope that should never have been subjected to this intense erosive force. Every tree that spillway that was toppled on the spillway, created a hole that immediately became a focus for deep erosion and gully formation. At this point, the only option they had was to go back to using the main spillway. In retrospect, we were fortunate that there was enough time between the atmospheric river events that there wasn't a more serious disaster.

Fortunately it appears that the upper part of the main spillway, where it is lower angle before the main drop is underlain by reasonably hard bedrock that remained coupled to the concrete foundation of the spillway. However, where the failure occurred, it appears that the spillway was underlain by "soft" weathered &/or fractured bedrock as mentioned ^^^ that became decoupled from the concrete spillway since it was last seriously tested in 1997. The area of the spillway where it steepens is also where you would expect cavitation forces to be significant. Once this area of the main spillway failed, it diverted the flow off to the right side of the spillway where it eroded a deep gully down to the river removing all the "soft" or fractured bedrock in its way.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/17/oroville-dam-what-made-the-spillway-collapse/
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 1, 2017 - 01:32am PT
However, where the failure occurred, it appears that the spillway was underlain by "soft" weathered &/or fractured bedrock...

I guess I'd beg to differ - a lot of the spillway was just poured straight on the dirt that made up the hillside and only part of the original failure area was actually poured with any kind of rock immediately under it. Wouldn't be surprised if the highest underlying rock didn't determine the slope of the whole rig in order to keep costs down.

If it had been in NH no one would have thought twice about blasting the sh#t of the whole raceway and building it on a decent and stable base.



Also, the upper portion of the spillway that's intact for the moment is no doubt as paper-thin and shoddily built as the rest of it was and should all be ripped out for a fresh start - hopefully with a bit more concrete and rebar.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 1, 2017 - 08:32am PT
I guess I'd beg to differ - a lot of the spillway was just poured straight on the dirt that made up the hillside and only part of the original failure area was actually poured with any kind of rock immediately under it.
Yes, I agree..."soft" bedrock => weathered bedrock => soil (aka "dirt")

What is left is the extent of competent bedrock...the criminal evidence has left the crime scene and washed away down the Feather River.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 1, 2017 - 03:32pm PT
DWR video posted yesterday showing the ongoing work to remove the eroded debris...

[Click to View YouTube Video]
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 1, 2017 - 03:45pm PT
a lot of the spillway was just poured straight on the dirt that made up the hillside and only part of the original failure area was actually poured with any kind of rock immediately under it.

Bridges have nothing under them, but most are adequately engineered.
WBraun

climber
Mar 1, 2017 - 03:52pm PT
That bridge is bomber.

I wouldn't hesitate to drive over it.

I know all about engineering, I use the best engineering, I know many of the best engineering words.

What's to worry .....
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 1, 2017 - 04:32pm PT
Don't forget this one...the fun starts at 1:20...

[Click to View YouTube Video]
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 1, 2017 - 08:02pm PT
Divers being used to seal leaks in the main spillway gates...

[Click to View YouTube Video]
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 2, 2017 - 01:40am PT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icKjUCzFwGg
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 2, 2017 - 02:15am PT
"soft" bedrock => weathered bedrock => soil (aka "dirt")

Thanks, that would definitely escape most layfolk...
monolith

climber
state of being
Mar 4, 2017 - 08:42am PT
Miles of riverbank collapse after spillway shut off.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Riverbanks-collapse-after-Oroville-Dam-spillway-10976144.php
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 4, 2017 - 10:39am PT
hey there say, ... wow, guys... thanks for all the updates...

and others share, as to all this...
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 4, 2017 - 10:44am PT
In the case of the riverbank sloughing,
it looks like the state played an active role.

In a different case,
that of Monterey Bay erosion,
the government has failed to prevent a private sand dredge operation from causing the shoreline to recede.
http://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Ignoring-state-threats-firm-keeps-sucking-sand-10973856.php
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 5, 2017 - 05:56pm PT
hey there say, a friend of mine, is curious...

is there more updates on the oroville dam?

thanks... :)
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 5, 2017 - 09:08pm PT
neebee: the WDR website is probably the best place for updated information on the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident. Click on the Oroville Spillway Incident menu item. Each photo includes an explanation on the right side bar.

https://pixel-ca-dwr.photoshelter.com/index
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 5, 2017 - 10:20pm PT
This is one of the best photos so far that shows the geology beneath where the main spillway failure occurred...

My speculation is that the iron oxide stained rock, immediately beneath spillway failure, contained "soft" bedrock that was chemically altered by hydrothermal fluids possibly while these rocks were still part of a late Jurassic volcanic arc. These altered rocks were more vulnerable to chemical weathering during the last several 100K years in the Sierra foothills and easily eroded once the overlying concrete spillway became decoupled. There also appears to be a structural discontinuity (yellow dashed line), possibly a low angle fault, that could serve as a preferential pathway for modern groundwater flow. The blue-green bedrock beneath the low angle structural discontinuity, appears to be competent, meta-volcanic bedrock.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 5, 2017 - 10:51pm PT
Why was that concrete only about 4" thick?
Did they think it was to be a residential driveway?
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 5, 2017 - 11:12pm PT
Looks thicker than 4 inches in this photo...


neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 5, 2017 - 11:20pm PT
hey there, say, tuolumne_tradster

thank you so much!! got it now...
thank you...

thanks for the pics, etc, here, too...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 6, 2017 - 04:17pm PT
This video and the photos above show a clear lack of substance, almost absent structural design and poor material and execution throughout.

[Click to View YouTube Video]


Dude! Where's my concrete and rebar!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 6, 2017 - 04:52pm PT
Yes, TT, it does but it doesn't look very homogeneous and that's a pathetic
amount of rebar for something like that. It should have 10x that amount.
at the least. For that thickness it should have a top and a bottom cage.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 6, 2017 - 05:00pm PT
DWR appears to be posting self-incriminating photo evidence from the crime scene on their website.

The lack of rebar & other engineering design flaws coupled with the underlying geology and some bad decision making, lead to this disaster. In their defense, the recent poor decision-making is easy to criticize in retrospect.

Fortunately no one was killed...at least not yet. They are definitely not out of the woods yet either, with the amount of snow remaining in the watershed and the possibility of another atmospheric storm or abnormal warming trend later this month.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 6, 2017 - 06:00pm PT
Talk about take the money and run...
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 7, 2017 - 02:51pm PT
Geophysical imaging beneath the Main Spillway using Ground Penetrating Radar w/GPS.
Photo from the DWR website...


My guess is that there imaging for evidence of large voids or decoupling of the concrete spillway from the underlying bedrock...

https://www.sensoft.ca/products/spidar/overview/

More info on the Metabunk thread...

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-36

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 7, 2017 - 02:59pm PT
Geophysical imaging beneath the Main Spillway using Ground Penetrating Radar w/GPS

That sure looks to me like bolting the barn door after the horses done run.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Mar 7, 2017 - 03:09pm PT
Maybe more like seeing if they have to tear the whole thing out and start over. Intelligent and necessary move; you should be complaining if they weren't checking.
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
Mar 7, 2017 - 03:12pm PT
Tradster,

Yep, you'd get a very good reflection from the contrast between air and concrete. It'd be much stronger than what you'd expect between concrete and the baserock.

With as thick as that slab is, I'd say that the 500 MHz antenna is the best one for the job. We did a lot of void surveys when I was in NZ, but the slabs were never thicker than 200-300 mm. We had no luck with a 500 mm slab.

I think they are totally justified in trying to see if there are other areas of weakness/voids beneath the slab. Main problem with GPR is that the area of investigation is so small. The 500 MHz antenna will not image areas of concern of even 0.5m so it would take a lot of transects to cover the remaining slab, even if they want to do a 10% coverage, which is not a lot.

Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Mar 7, 2017 - 05:08pm PT
Hey Reilly, here's some more rebar for you.........
trailridge127

Trad climber
Loveland, CO
Mar 7, 2017 - 05:37pm PT
^^Boom...In your face. See California can build structures to last. Oh wait.
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Mar 7, 2017 - 05:56pm PT
Keeping the upper spillway intact should be the highest priority. If they find voids under slab I would guess they will go for some form of high pressure grouting. Looks like they are working on the left sidewall as well. Anybody seen close up pictures of that?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 7, 2017 - 10:30pm PT
That sure looks to me like bolting the barn door after the horses done run.

No sh#t there.

Maybe more like seeing if they have to tear the whole thing out and start over

The upper spillway is a just as much a piece of fraudulent work as the rest of it. The whole thing definitely needs to be replaced with something substantial, but how the f*#k do you do that now - no time and you don't know what the next season or two will bring. The pooch has been way screwed by greed and avarice in the original construction.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Mar 7, 2017 - 11:25pm PT
I would think, and hope, that if they can't get repairs completed by next fall that they are confident of, then they will substantially drain the lake.

If things stay wet the lack of storage won't be too big of deal.

If CA goes back into a drought you have some pissed off farmers.

So what. If you spend a billion dollars fixing the dam the cost of paying off a few farmers will be a footnote.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 8, 2017 - 12:06am PT
I dunno, I would think that's somewhat wildly optimistic. There's really no 'repairing' the spillway. They can attempt to stabilize the what remains of the upper spillway, but that's about it. If they still have to use it, and they likely will, it will still be cutting away in its new channel and filling up the river below with debris and that will have to cleared after each time they use it. The only solution is an entirely new spillway. As I said, I just don't know how or when they'd be able to pull that off without draining the lake substantially as you suggest as it would be a multi-year project.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Mar 8, 2017 - 06:55am PT
The spillway failed at 50,000 cu ft/sec. The rated maximum flow is 150,000 cu ft/sec. The ultimate flow, from a post by 'Stack Dump' on metabunk.org is:

According to the Emergency Spillway Release Diagram, the maximum capacity of the main spillway before the emergency spillway kicks in, is 250,000 cfs. The 150,000 cfs value is an operational limit determined by what happens downstream at Oroville.

I suspect the whole thing would have been gone. It's amazing to see the erosion to rebar on the spillway surface; seems to be heading for another failure higher up if they have to use it at high rates. Wish I owned a concrete business near the dam.....
WBraun

climber
Mar 8, 2017 - 06:58am PT
When the dam filled up too fast it triggered a small quake 3 miles away which probably caused the original break in the spillway.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 8, 2017 - 09:43am PT
The 2.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred about a month ago at about the time of peak inflow >180K cfs, was a quarry blast, not an earthquake.

Note depth of earthquake = 0 km.


labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Mar 8, 2017 - 10:44am PT
Perhaps the duck smoked a bit too much when he came up with that one....
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 8, 2017 - 11:19am PT
as far as the gubermint is concerned...IMHO, the USGS is fairly reliable
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 8, 2017 - 11:38am PT
Some geologic info in this video starting at ~ 1:30. They are mapping the structural characteristics of the bedrock, mainly the location and orientation of joints (fractures) and shear zones in the recently eroded emergency spillway area.

[Click to View YouTube Video]


Note the geologist refers to the meta-volcanic bedrock as amphibolite, which is a higher grade of metamorphism than greenschist facies.

August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Mar 8, 2017 - 01:53pm PT
I dunno, I would think that's somewhat wildly optimistic. There's really no 'repairing' the spillway. They can attempt to stabilize the what remains of the upper spillway, but that's about it. If they still have to use it, and they likely will, it will still be cutting away in its new channel and filling up the river below with debris and that will have to cleared after each time they use it. The only solution is an entirely new spillway. As I said, I just don't know how or when they'd be able to pull that off without draining the lake substantially as you suggest as it would be a multi-year project.

I guess I have more faith in our public institutions than you do. This is no longer a hypothetical situation. The lower spillway is damaged and the upper spillway is suspect. Not fixing it could cause hundreds or thousands of deaths with a catastrophic failure.

I'm guessing the cost of fixing it is over $500 million. (My current wild guess is 1 billion).

Yes, you can drain the lake for years if that is what it takes. The governor declares it an emergency situation and that is that.

Are farmers really going to scream that the lives of thousands of people should be risked so they can grow a few almonds?

It isn't that big of deal. Drain the lake. Pay the farmers a few tens of millions (per year) until the dam is fixed to cover the value of the lost crops.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 8, 2017 - 01:56pm PT
Why does the lake have to be drained much below the spillway level?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Mar 8, 2017 - 02:15pm PT
Pray for a drought?
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 8, 2017 - 02:18pm PT
Why does the lake have to be drained much below the spillway level?

I suspect to create enough storage capacity that another unforeseen series of "pineapple express" storms doesn't overtop the spillway, especially if the repairs take longer than 9 months.
WBraun

climber
Mar 8, 2017 - 02:46pm PT
A quarry blast, not an earthquake.

The quarry blast shook the earth .....
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 8, 2017 - 03:40pm PT
The quarry blast shook the earth .....
yes of course, but did not cause
the original break in the spillway

WBraun: more likely that you would fall leading the 1st pitch of Outer Limits, than the minor ground shaking from that quarry blast broke the spillway :-)
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 9, 2017 - 02:25pm PT
The Main Spillway shotcrete band aid has been completed. Ready for action starting next week...
It will be interesting to see if the shotcrete prevents any additional headward erosion under the spillway once the action starts.

Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Mar 9, 2017 - 03:02pm PT
Seems like it wouldn't be too difficult to attach some nicely rolled steel plate off the end of the broken spillway; give the welders some overtime too......... But seriously, steel could prevent undercutting, more durable than shotcrete and mesh; it wouldn't be taking the whole water load, just the backwash.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 10, 2017 - 09:43am PT
this might be what DMT is referring to^^^...

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 10, 2017 - 10:01am PT
I guess I have more faith in our public institutions than you do. This is no longer a hypothetical situation. The lower spillway is damaged and the upper spillway is suspect. Not fixing it could cause hundreds or thousands of deaths with a catastrophic failure.

I guess I don't think of it as a matter of faith in public institutions so much as just considering the tough realities they're facing. It's not a matter of fixing it or not fixing it so much as how the hell do you 'fix it', when, and how do you pull that off.

Replacing the whole thing and doing it right this time is really the only intelligent option, but doing it would likely take 2-3 years. That means they would need to take the reservoir down to a level that flow through the powerhouse alone would handle the lake level for the duration of the project.

As it is now, any use of the spillway is going to bring more debris in the diversion pool shutting down the powerhouse and causing a cycle of spillway flows and digging out the pool. I would think they would try to avoid that scenario at all cost.

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 10, 2017 - 12:55pm PT
hey there say, DMT... THANKS for sharing... :)
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 10, 2017 - 01:56pm PT
DMT: that Mavin's Notebook website is a great resource...

I always thought it was amazing that the drainages west of the Minarets crest flow into the Sacramento Delta



Here's the Feather River watershed. What is the highest Peak in the Feather River watershed?


Bob Harrington

climber
Bishop, California
Mar 10, 2017 - 04:50pm PT
The headwaters of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin are actually east of the Minarets (maybe that's what you meant?).
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 10, 2017 - 07:41pm PT
Bob Harrington: yes, that's what I meant. Thanks for pointing that out.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 12, 2017 - 05:36pm PT
I suspect they're drilling into any significant voids found beneath the main concrete spillway using the GPR to squeeze cement and seal them.



Check out this excerpt from the 1962 report "INSPECTION OF OROVILLE DAM SPILLWAY SITE AND
DISCUSSION OF OROVILLE DAM MODEL STUDIES, STATE OF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
We then proceeded up the mountain side to the site of the spillway,mwhich will be off channel near the right dam abutment. The party then walked to the river channel down the draw in which the spillway channel will be constructed. We stopped at each drill hole aud
examined a log of the hole. Cores from the drill holes were not available at the dam site and were not examined.

The spillway is located in a natural saddle with upstream topography that should give good flow conditioms in the spillway approach. The rock in the spillway channel is amphibolite that is hard and tough where fresh and soft where weathered. Overburden in the area varies from a few feet to over 50 feet. The drill hole logs showed that the rook is fractured, and excavations up to 70 feet are required in places to reach sound rock.


From a 2008 report on Dam Safety posted on the MetaBunk thread...

http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/hr/print/volume-27/issue-2/technical-articles/dam-safety-evaluating-spillway-condition.html

Hydrologic conditions that can lead to failure modes in dam spillways...

– Existing structural damage that compromises the spillway;
– Flows that exceed spillway capacity;
– Cavitation damage;
– Significant stagnation pressures that can lead to hydraulic jacking or structural collapse; and
– Foundation erosion related to seepage or groundwater.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 12, 2017 - 05:38pm PT
hey there say... once again, guys... thanks so much for sharing...

i again, enjoyed that 'river run' map...

:)
TLP

climber
Mar 12, 2017 - 06:37pm PT
More great posts, tradster. Keep 'em coming. I'll put my wager chip on e) foundation erosion. Maybe d) but that seems much less likely. Seemed like there were a lot of leaks, that would have moderated the pressure. For all the talk about cavitation, my understanding of the good examples of failure or near failure from that cause, it results in a different pattern of initial damage than the photos we've seen from the beginning. So, I'd go with erosion/piping of the softer weathered rock.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Mar 12, 2017 - 11:20pm PT
Drought?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 12, 2017 - 11:27pm PT
The drill hole logs showed that the rook is fractured, and excavations up to 70 feet are required in places to reach sound rock.

It's obvious they decided to ignore this reality and just laid the thing on the dirt - er, weathered rock - instead of digging down to solid rock and building it back up right. Cheap bastards - would have cost nothing to do it right back when they built it, now it's going to cost some serious coin.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 13, 2017 - 08:46am PT
Engineering and construction done right...


tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 15, 2017 - 02:41pm PT
Looks like DWR plans to start using the damaged main spillway again this weekend.
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/14/oroville-dam-spillway-flows-to-resume-this-week/

FYI, this photo posted on the DWR website shows an exposure of amphibolite but the caption refers to it as granite ;-( At least one of the people on that outcrop must be a geologist. Hopefully that caption was not reviewed by a geologist.

For the rebarbarians...


Here's a good closeup photo of the contact between the iron stained amphibolite overlying the blue-green, non-iron stained amphibolite. The contact is the obvious joint/fracture surface that the two individuals are standing on. The iron staining looks to be surficial along joint planes as you can see the blue-green amphibolite on freshly exposed surfaces. All the rock exposed in this photo appears to be competent bedrock, the "soft" weathered/altered bedrock now eroded away.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Mar 15, 2017 - 06:33pm PT
So using the spillway isn't causing additional damage. Rather, they are cleverly using hydraulic mining to remove the dirt so they can build on a solid foundation.

Nice.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 15, 2017 - 08:31pm PT
Rather, they are cleverly using hydraulic mining to remove the dirt so they can build on a solid foundation.

I'm glad someone is paying attention ;-)

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 15, 2017 - 09:33pm PT

Recent Feather River erosion of an almond orchard down stream of the Oroville Dam...


@ 11:30 in this Juan Browne video...
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 16, 2017 - 09:57am PT
TT, we rebarbarians thank you. So there was an upper and a lower mesh, sadly inadequate in any event: far too widely spaced! And why don't we see any of the transverse members as opposed to just the longitudinals? Also very telling is the fact that so much of the concrete was literally stripped off the rebar indicating a poor bond due to improper storage prior to pouring* and/or way too low of a cement percentage. Bottom line: way too little engineering and quality control.

*meaning heavy rusting or oily contaminants
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 16, 2017 - 11:37am PT
Reilly: maybe they'll get it right on the 2nd try, especially now that the "soft" rock has been removed.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 16, 2017 - 04:51pm PT

[Click to View YouTube Video]
dirtbag

climber
Mar 24, 2017 - 08:37am PT
Thanks dingus. I had suspected (probably along with most people) that the problems would be too great to fix in one dry season.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 24, 2017 - 08:53am PT
Sounds like a complete rebuild, bottom up, of the main spillway ($500M - $1B). Likely to take > 1 year, meaning the farmers won't get their water.

Carbo

Trad climber
Too far south
Mar 24, 2017 - 09:15am PT
Wouldn't they need the dam to be at least partly functional for flood control?
I think it's mostly the central valley that would suffer as Socal gets water from Eastern Sierra and Colorado river (Colorado supplies 80% of the water for San Diego)

Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Mar 24, 2017 - 01:12pm PT
It seems to me that there is an elephant in the corner regarding any discussion of infrastructure in California...

When this elephant becomes a major topic in The Economist it might be time to get real.

...According to the Proposition 1A Bond Act, the high-speed rail project has to be financially viable; trains have to operate (without subsidy) every five minutes in either direction during the day; and funds for each segment of the route need to be identified before work on the leg in question can commence. Above all, trains have to make the 520-mile (840-km) journey between the Los Angeles basin and the San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes, reaching speeds of 220 mph (350 kph). As for ridership, the rail authority reckoned some 65m to 96m passengers per year would be travelling the route by 2020. The basic fare was to be $55 one way.

That was all pie in the sky, a way of selling the deal to voters in 2008. A review in 2011 put ridership at a more realistic 30m passengers a year, with an end-to-end ticket price of $89. Meanwhile, the overall cost of the project had soared to $98 billion. And instead of going into service by the end of the decade, the high-speed railway would not be ready until 2033.

$100B could go a long ways toward stabilizing CA's water supply systems.

Carbo

Trad climber
Too far south
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:35pm PT
Interesting DMT, we do buy some water from LA while most comes from Colorado and local resevoirs.
While we should all rip out our lawns and conserve, it seems the price just goes up as the Water District needs to make the same amount of money
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Mar 24, 2017 - 04:09pm PT
Of course DWR is saying they can fix it enough to allow the dam to partially refill next winter, because of course their only reason for being is their water customers in Socal, east bay and central valley project. The people in Oroville are just in the way, inconviently.

For a dam of this size, wouldn't there be some sort of Federal permit required/certification? Anybody know?

I would find it mildly surprising if something like this was left entirely to state law.

And if the Feds are involved, I can't see them signing off on a half-ass fix.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Mar 24, 2017 - 04:17pm PT
I would find it mildly surprising if something like this was left entirely to state law.

You raise an interesting question. For starters who is to say that the Fed would have done a better job?

Ripped off from Wiki:

On October 17, 2005, three environmental groups filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen spillway and that it did not meet modern safety standards. "In the event of extreme rain and flooding, fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway, then flow down the emergency spillway, and that could cause heavy erosion that would create flooding for communities downstream, but also could cause a failure, known as 'loss of crest control.'" FERC and water agencies responsible for the cost of the upgrades said it was unnecessary and concerns were overblown.[31][32]
In 2006, a senior civil engineer sent a memo to his managers stating “The emergency spillway meets FERC’s engineering guidelines for an emergency spillway,” and that “The guidelines specify that during a rare flood event, it is acceptable for the emergency spillway to sustain significant damage.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 24, 2017 - 06:28pm PT
FYI, according to Wikipedia...water from Oroville Dam irrigates 755,000 acres (> 1,150 sq mi) on the Westside San Joaquin Valley & provides drinking water for 25M people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oroville_Dam
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 26, 2017 - 01:11pm PT
Damn! Like those dam pictures, DMT.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Apr 1, 2017 - 08:51am PT
DMT.. sounds like a cover up but we all know any misdeeds will be handsomely rewarded...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 1, 2017 - 09:10am PT
Nothing like living in a mature democracy, huh? Makes me feel warm and cuddly.
I'm wating for Guvnor Moonbeam's response, but I'm not holding my breath.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 1, 2017 - 09:41am PT
My contacts in the drilling and geophysical logging industries tell me that when they're not using the Oroville Dam main spillway there's a drilling and subsurface characterization campaign going on involving multiple drill rigs that are continuously coring the geologic material beneath the spillway and running optical televiewer logs in the boreholes to identify any other areas of decomposed or highly fractured amphibolite bedrock. In addition to inspecting and describing the rock quality characteristics of the core retrieved from the borehole, an optical televiewer is deployed in the borehole that records a high resolution, oriented, digital optical image of the borehole wall. This is critical information for any interim spillway modifications and the permanent spillway replacement design.



One of the latest concerns is the brown colored water flowing on the left side below the broken spillway. This may represent piping or undercutting and erosion of decomposed bedrock beneath the spillway. Photo posted on DWR website Mar 27, 2017.


This is what that area looked like before the shotcrete. Note highly sheared/decomposed bedrock on the left side corresponding to the where the brown colored water is flowing shown above. Similar sheared bedrock is also evident in the middle of the spillway where the guy is on his knees...

The extent of that sheared/decomposed bedrock material, especially if it extends back up to the top of the spillway, is a bit disconcerting.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 1, 2017 - 10:03am PT
Lemme get this straight, the guys on the ground have safety harnesses on while the guys
above do not? How does that logic work? No wonder this will take forever.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 9, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
http://www.water.ca.gov/oroville-spillway/pdf/2017/a3186 Oroville Spwy Recovery_v5.pdf

Oroville Dam Main Spillway design concepts...

Current Emergency Spillway design being considered...

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 9, 2017 - 09:03pm PT
https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2017/04/07/oroville-disaster-may-have-been-caused-by-weak-soil-under-spillway

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 by Water Deeply. If confirmed by a forensic investigation now underway, rebuilding the spillway will require a much more expensive and time-consuming effort.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Apr 10, 2017 - 11:00am PT
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/07/oroville-dam-dwr-unveils-plans-to-replace-damaged-spillway/



As the department switches into recovery mode, it’s looking at three phases going forward, with about 60 percent of the design complete, Croyle said. DWR plans to repair and replace the top part of the spillway by next winter, allowing for a total outflow of 270,000 cfs, said Jeanne Kuttel, DWR chief engineer.

That includes drains, walls and some foundation rock, in order to meet modern dam design standards, Kuttel said. The next phase will focus on the lower spillway, which will be replaced with stronger concrete. Roller-compacted concrete, or RCC, is used at dams across the nation, she said. The department expects to have bottom portion of the spillway able to handle 100,000 cfs by Nov. 1, so that would be the maximum capacity for the structure for the season.


At an afternoon press briefing, DWR Acting Directory Bill Croyle said the lower portion of the spillway would also be repaired by Nov. 1 to withstand a maximum outflow of 100,000 cubic-feet per second.
...
Next year, the department plans to bring the lower chute capacity to match the top portion’s capacity of 270,000 cfs, Croyle said.

The third phase will involve reinforcing the emergency spillway with RCC.

I didn't think they would be able to fully repair by this fall. Will be interesting to see how much they lower the lake level since the main spillway will only be able to handle (assuming the emergency repairs are a success) 100,000 cfs and they won't want to use the emergency spillway.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 10, 2017 - 07:43pm PT
In this NPR interview, UC Davis Geology professor Eldridge Moores (John McPhee's guide for Assembling California) explains that the Oroville Dam main spillway was built on weathered, incompetent rock. Eldridge is a world renowned expert on Ophiolite Sequences, including the Smartville Complex.

They did not anchor the spillway in fresh rock.

It seems to me that even a student of geology could have told them that they were going to have an erosion problem here.


https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2017/04/07/how-incompetent-rock-led-to-the-oroville-dam-crisis/


Photos from the DWR website of ongoing geologic characterization using continuous core drilling at the emergency spillway...


In search of the illusive Saprolite ;-(
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 12, 2017 - 08:24am PT
Seriously? C'mon, it doesn't require public records to figure out what happened - it's not rocket science - it was completely shite, lowball design and construction and the state's refusal to do anything about it ever since. This was all laid out well enough in the past when those evil environmentalists tried to get the dam fixed back in 2005.

As to the announced fixes, the publicly released remediation documents are more than clear and the the plans for both spillways are well within today's engineering norms.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 12, 2017 - 09:21am PT
The NewsDeeply article claims that the geologic material beneath both spillways that failed is Saprolite (chemically weathered bedrock) and that the vulnerability of this material to erosion was not recognized back in the '60s...that sounds like a croq of sh*t

Saprolites have traditionally been associated with iron-rich bedrock that has been chemically weathered in place to thick soil in tropical climates +/-30 degrees latitude of the equator...


The Saprolite did it! ;-(
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 12, 2017 - 09:30am PT
I think the emergency spillway came dam(n) (no pun intended) close to failure...which would have been an enormous disaster...this is why there are so many drill rigs up there doing geologic characterization right now to better understand the 3D distribution of "soft" bedrock and the vulnerability of the emergency spillway to failure.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Apr 12, 2017 - 11:04am PT
DMT,

That they freaked out at what they saw and ordered an evacuation was reasonable. Better safe than sorry.

I don't think the entire 700' dam was in danger of collapsing in a matter of hours like the Grand Teton dam did back in the 70's.

When they went back to using the main spillway, the lower part suffered a lot of damage but the upper part never eroded back upstream toward the crest.

The emergency spillway is off to the side of the dam on top of a big hill. The 30 foot concrete spillway could have suddenly collapsed and it would have started to erode the soft material away (like what happened to the lower part of the main spillway) until it got down to sturdier rock. However, I'm not sure if it would have eroded over to the main dam or not. But if it did, I would imagine that it would have taken at least days, not hours. After the first surge of water from the 30' concrete spillway collapsing, there would have been time to evacuate.

But the secrecy is BS. I'm wondering if the price tag for repairs is going to be secret? Wouldn't want ISIS to know how badly tax payers are being hit for a poorly engineered dam.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 16, 2017 - 11:02am PT
So it looks like the cost of 118 miles of bullet train could fix this dam about 230 times. Damn!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Apr 16, 2017 - 11:26am PT
Kiewit will probably get the contract, they're undertaking huge projects all around N America.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 16, 2017 - 12:03pm PT
I've been thinking about that emergency spillway. Let's call it a "back-up" spillway. All of a sudden we have a climbing analogy.

I started climbing at the Gunks. My mentor was a French Canadian guy. For the most part Clog hex nuts, stoppers and the occasional fixed pin were the tools of the day. When he was setting up an anchor he would insist that his back-up piece was at least as good as the rest of the anchor. "Doesn't make much sense to have it the other way around now, does it?"

Hmmm.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Apr 17, 2017 - 09:32pm PT
hey there say, ... always enjoy seeing this pop back up...


also, say DMT... thanks for the other link...

really ENJOYED that!!
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 18, 2017 - 06:20pm PT
FYI, R.G. Bea's root causes failure analysis of Oroville Dam gated spillway. This appears to be a very damning report for DWR.

http://documents.latimes.com/report-finds-serious-design-construction-and-maintenance-defects-oroville-dam-emergency-spillway/
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 18, 2017 - 07:20pm PT
$275,400,000.00 is pretty cheap in expensive California.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 19, 2017 - 02:13pm PT
And DWR has refuted key points of that independent report and is of course doing their own investigation. Boldly denying the concrete was too thin and that there wasn't enough rebar is just plain stupid. I'd have given top DWR officials a pass if it weren't for ignoring the warnings in 2005 and now these comments which by themselves should cause the their removal.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 19, 2017 - 02:39pm PT
...and don't forget that Saprolite had not been recognized as a vulnerability back in the 60s ;-(
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 19, 2017 - 04:10pm PT
Interesting that former UC Berkeley Professor Bea, who did the failure analysis pro-bono, admits that the
metabunk forum web site to be very useful in helping me develop a basic understanding of how and why the spillway failures developed

https://www.metabunk.org/oroville-dam-spillway-failure.t8381/page-41
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Apr 21, 2017 - 07:39am PT
^^^ Yikes, in the end it all comes down to some humans making decisions or not.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Apr 21, 2017 - 09:20am PT
DMT. I agree. They built a cheap emergency spillway on the assumption it wouldn't ever be used.

Given their conflict of interest, they should not have had the final say on beefing up the spillway in 2005.

And it should be criminal to so favor ag interests over flood safety for 200,000.
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Apr 21, 2017 - 02:00pm PT
And it should be criminal to so favor ag interests over flood safety for 200,000.

Heh...oh man.

I suspect that some don't think in those terms. I suspect it's more like...

$ earned from ag interests > $ earned from tending to the safety for 200,000.

BUT it sure ain't right...

I know that there's a lot of 'historic' events going around right now, but this whole rigamarole sure's got my attention more than a whole lot of others! Thanks for the great updates folks!

Cheers

LS

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Apr 21, 2017 - 02:23pm PT
hey there say, dingus...

thanks for this share, above:

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- Late in the afternoon of Feb. 12,

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Apr 29, 2017 - 05:20pm PT
Juan Browne video with the latest on Oroville Dam...
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Apparently a very lively public meeting in Gridley Friday evening including angry residents and farmers pissed off that current discharge rate (>40K cfs) threatening downstream orchards...should be <20K cfs.

Here's a screenshot from Juan's video at ~20 min showing seep on the main dam
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
May 15, 2017 - 09:16am PT
Note these are Preliminary Findings not Conclusions

At this time, the Forensic Investigation Team does not believe that it is likely that there are singular physical causes of the spillway damages, but rather that the damages were the results of some combination of physical factors from the lists below. However, based on what is known at this time, it would be prudent that the design of repairs consider all of the physical factors listed below.


Preliminary Findings Concerning Candidate Physical Factors Potentially Contributing to Damage of the Service and Emergency Spillways at Oroville Dam

May 5, 2017 Memorandum from Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Forensic Investigation Team

Candidate physical factors potentially contributing to service spillway damage:
1. Thinning of the chute slab above herringbone drains; these locations can promote cracking.
2. Large variations in slab thickness.
3. Limited slab reinforcement consisting of one layer of light reinforcement in the top of the slab.
4. Lack of continuous tension reinforcement across slab joints.
5. Corrosion and failure of reinforcing bars across cracks.
6. Slab joints with insufficient keys or lack of keys.
7. Slab placement sizes which were too large to control cracking.
8. Lack of waterstops in slab joints.
9. Hydraulic pressures and flows transmitted beneath the slab sections through open cracks and joints.
10. Increase in spillway discharge shortly before slab failure.
11. Plugging or collapse of drains or collector pipes, including potential plugging by tree roots.
12. Flow into the foundation that exceeded the capacity of the drain pipes, including possible flows from areas adjacent to the chute.
13. Lack of redundancy in collector drains.
14. Unfiltered drains; the gravel envelope may not serve as a filter.
15. Herringbone drains crossing joints in the slab.
16. Weathered rock and completely weathered rock that is soil-like material as slab foundation, without appropriate modification of the chute slab design, resulting in potentially erodible material beneath the slab and lack of foundation bond with concrete; the weathered rock and completely weathered rock appears to be associated with geologic features such as shear zones, and the degree of weathering changes relatively rapidly between some areas of the chute slab.
17. Less rigorous foundation preparation, resulting in lack of foundation bond with concrete.
18. Extended drought impacts on foundation materials.
19. Insufficient anchorage, due to limited anchor development in the concrete, short anchor length, inadequate grouting or grout strength, and/or installation in weak foundation material.
20. Relatively high spillway flow velocities in the lower chute for higher spillway discharges.
21. Lack of durability and effectiveness of slab repairs.
22. Spalling and/or delamination of concrete at slab joints.
23. Groundwater pressures; although current evidence suggests this may not have been a significant factor.
24. Cavitation; although preliminary analysis suggests this may not be a significant factor.

Candidate physical factors potentially contributing to emergency spillway damage:
1. Significant depth of erodible rock and soil in orientations that allowed rapid headcutting toward the crest control structure; these materials also appear to be associated with geologic features such as shear zones.
2. Hillside topography that concentrated flows and increased erosive forces, facilitating headcut formation.
3. Insufficient energy dissipation at base of the spillway crest.
4. Absence of erosion protection downstream of the crest structure.


It is important to understand that not all of the factors listed above may eventually be judged to have significantly contributed to the actual damages to the spillways, after all facts and as-constructed conditions are collected and fully evaluated. However, these factors should be considered and addressed in the ongoing new design and construction.
chainsaw

Trad climber
CA
May 15, 2017 - 09:51am PT
The worst part of the "evacuation " was the response by local county supervisors. Of fifteen county supervisors in the affected tri county area, fourteen were awol till a week later, when ousted and disgraced con woman Barbara LeVake showed up at emergency services with a camera crew from fox news. She claimed to be in charge, despite having been voted OUT. You could see the official county people trying desperately to get her OUT OF THE WAY. Her political foto op was a huge insult to the hardworking honest people who were trying to do their jobs. Only Butte supervisor Nieto was present at the Office of Emergency services during the evacuation. He was the one who answered the phone when I called. The politicians were all so scared of making a decision what to do for fear of criticism, that they did nothing. Yuba and Sutter Offices of Emergency Services websites still had drought warnings on their pages three days after the evacuation. There was no information about the dam on any county pages. When I spoke to Yuba and Sutter sherriffs and CHP they had no info. Elderly people and carless folks were left to pray or drown while fleets of yuba sutter transit busses sat parked in the yard. The national guard showed up three days late. Highway 70 should have had all four lanes in both directions converted to South bound to accomadate traffic. According to the local tow company, over 1000 car accidents occurred with nearly half of those cars submerged in water after panicked motorists went off the highway to skirt traffic. The evacuation was an unnecessary panick for many downstream. Our East Nicolaus fire dept said if the whole thing broke, we had ten hours before water would get here and that it would rise inches at a time. But facebook users said that a 100 foot wall of water was coming in thirty minutes. Local Authorities did NOTHING to squelch that rumor. Instead, they had firetrucks driving around telling people to evacuate immediately. Traffic was directed onto highway 70, when surface roads to the East, leading to highground were EMPTY! All those $125,000 a year internet govt employees couldnt even be bothered to update the counties web page. They dont really do any work. Their websites were showing months old crap. I doubt these guys even come to work. They get paid a fortune and do nothing. I spent the night of the evacuation convincing neighbors not to join the mess on Hwy 70. We scoped out two overpasses with no on/offramps for high ground and put plugs in our boats. I directed panicked motorists to surface roads leading East to high ground most of the night. The real threat to safety was the levees which were seeping badly all the way to Sacramento. Meanwhile the local reclaimation district was hiring levee monitors. But as it turns out, they gave all those paid jobs to their families, friends and cronies. Many got paid for doing nothing. The whole incident shines a bright light on how IRRESPONSIBLE our State and local governments have become. Its time to dump all the political correctos out of California and insert hardworking honest people who are NOT on some stupid idealistic crusade. Their current agenda does not look so noble when the cost is factored in. And all the gas tax money will be wasted on worthless shyt while they argue about how to cut costs for infrastructure etc. Im moving to Nevada.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 15, 2017 - 09:57am PT
THE SKY IS FALLING!
WBraun

climber
May 15, 2017 - 09:57am PT
LOL ... I love chainsaw .....
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 15, 2017 - 11:28am PT
“We didn’t know exactly the cost of the project. We hadn’t priced it out to any exactitude,” Gov. Pat Brown.

the governor believed cost didn’t really matter given what was at stake.


It would seem that kind of thinking runs in the family.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 15, 2017 - 03:34pm PT
Jerry (Brown, not Garcia) got the state through a two billion dollar deficit. Of course he might have screwed the pooch on the bullet train.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 30, 2017 - 11:41am PT
From the Wiki page on Isabella dam (along with a lot of other Corps of Engineers double-talk):

"November 9, 2007, the Corps of Engineers released the Isabella Dam Consensus Report, that confirmed the high-risk classification of the dam, ranking Isabella Dam among the 6 highest risk and highest priority dams in America, and later elevated it to the highest priority."

In the following 10 years no repair efforts have been made:

"A number of procedural tasks must still be completed in preparation of physical construction, which is scheduled to begin in 2017." So if I read it correctly, Isabella Dam is the highest risk dam in America.

There are signs around the towns of Isabella and Bodfish alerting folks that a two minute blast on the siren indicates imminent dam failure. Other signs point the way to high ground.

The other day I drove up the Kern Canyon from Bakersfield, then on up past Kernville. The river below the Isabella Dam is raging. The reservoir is fuller than I've seen it in a long time. The South Fork of the Kern was running across the bridge where Sierra Way crosses it between Kernville and CA 178. The main river above the lake is high enough to impress the locals, but not like it is below. So, I draw the conclusion that they're letting water out as fast as they can. I think there's still a lot of snow to melt up in the high country behind Mt. Whitney where the Kern originates?

Hopefully, for the city of Bakersfield's sake, this situation is under control. To a layperson like myself it looks pretty dicey.



Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 30, 2017 - 02:07pm PT
The sources of the Kern are the group of lakes between 11 and 12K ft. below the south side of Mt. Ericsson on the Kings Kern Divide. About 10 miles south of there it runs under the west side of Whitney.

nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Jun 9, 2017 - 07:09pm PT
*
Real sound on Facebook video..
https://www.facebook.com/andysteinwx/videos/691992107655239/?pnref=story.unseen-section

same video stupid music for video.
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Matt Sarad

climber
Jun 10, 2017 - 07:27am PT
From the Bakersfield Californian:

This weekend the water level in Isabella Lake is expected to reach — and maybe even exceed — the restricted pool allowed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And that means it might be time for residents who reside below the lake’s troubled dam to review their risks.

County emergency officials even recommend developing a plan for how to get out of town in the unlikely event that the dam fails due to something like a massive earthquake.

A dam failure could send a wall of water down the Kern River Canyon that would flood downtown Bakersfield under as much as 20 feet of water.

The whole city would be flooded.

THE RIVER
Kern River Watermaster Dana Munn said so much water is being allowed out of the Isabella Lake dam that it’s causing damage to river banks and levees downstream.

At 5,400 cubic feet per second, it’s the highest flow in the lower Kern since 1983, he said.

Chevron has recently had to reinforce river banks and levees in the Kern River Oil Field, he said.

John Ryan, water resources superintendent for the City of Bakersfield, said the city had to bolster the riverbanks under the Westside Parkway bridge with slabs of broken concrete called rip-rap.

Homes along Goodmanville Road have had parts of their lawns flooded, though no structures have been damaged.

All up and down the river, there is erosion and damage, he said.

“We are managing it right now,” Ryan said. “If it went any higher, we would be having problems.”

There are no plans to increase the flow into the lower Kern River.

But even that high flow can’t keep up with the torrents that Mother Nature is pouring into Isabella Lake from the mountains around Mount Whitney.

Ryan said 6,452 cubic feet was roaring into the lake from the upper Kern River on Friday, down a bit from recent days but still a massive flow.

THE LAKE
The bottom line, Ryan said, is that Isabella Lake is nearly as full as the engineers who maintain it are willing to let it get.

The magic number, set by the Army Corps of Engineers, is 361,250 acre-feet of water.

On Friday morning, Ryan said, the lake level was about 354,000 acre-feet and creeping upward.

It’s expected to peak on Sunday, he said.

Munn said the Corps has “kind of consented to let it go above” the restricted pool level.

Kern County Emergency Services Manager Georgianna Armstrong said the Corps has been asked if the restriction can be exceeded but has not yet replied.

Ryan said modeling shows the lake won’t get that full, at least not for too long.

But, he said, if you can predict where the lake level is going to end up, it might be time to take a shot at the Powerball jackpot.

The worry in having the lake so full comes from the fact it was identified in 2006 as one of the most dangerous dams in the nation.

An active earthquake fault runs along the spine of rock between the main and auxiliary dams.

And the Corps has recorded evidence of water damage that, if it remained under full pressure, could increase the risk of dam failure.

That’s why the restricted pool was put in place.

“What they have told us is that, at 66 percent of capacity, the dam meets current dam safety standards,” Armstrong said.

However, that limit has been exceeded once before with minimal impact, Ryan said.

In 2011, the last high water year, the water level increased to 368,000 for 10 days in July.

It wasn’t a problem, he said.

“I’m not a dam safety guy. But we didn’t really have a problem,” Ryan said.

THE DAM
The Isabella Lake dam is watched like a hawk, Armstrong said.

“The Isabella Dam is monitored in real time in Sacramento," she said. And the Corps of Engineers has people who walk the dam every day looking for signs that it has been compromised.

Any suspicious activity, leak, earth movement or other clue triggers a five-step system that could lead, if it escalates, to the evacuation of everyone in Bakersfield.

A dam failure, the Corps has said repeatedly, is very, very unlikely.

But the sheer number of human lives that would be in danger if the dam collapsed with a full pool of water behind it makes it a critical priority for repair.

And Armstrong said the scope of the destruction that would fall on Bakersfield if even the 361,250 acre-feet of water were released by a failing dam would be massive.

At a restricted pool, you have 20 feet of water in downtown Bakersfield. With a full pool, it's 30 feet.

Repair is coming.

The window for companies to bid on construction of the main improvements to the dam — increasing its height 16 feet and constructing a new spillway, as well as an option to improve the auxiliary dam — closed in May.

That work could begin as soon as this year.

In the meantime, there is a plan for evacuating people from Bakersfield in the event the dam begins to fail or, in the worst case, collapses in a seismic event.

At alert level 1, the county would be notified that there might be a concern.

At level 2, with additional signs of trouble, first responders, hospitals, schools and other critical agencies would be directed to begin activating their emergency plans.

At level 3, the general public would be alerted and, Armstrong said, some evacuations would likely begin.

At level 4, the likelihood of a dam failure would top 50 percent and a full evacuation of Bakersfield, Lake Isabella and the Kern River Canyon would be ordered.

The dam breaks at level 5 and the water begins its eight-hour run into northeast Bakersfield.

The county’s emergency plan for Isabella Lake — including maps of where the city would flood and how long it would take water to get to each part of town — is available at the Kern County Fire Department website at KernCountyFire.org; go to the "Operations" tab and click on on "Emergency Plans."

Residents, Armstrong said, should be ready for the worst.

Different parts of the city would be evacuated in different directions.

Families should talk and develop a plan for when to evacuate. They should, she said, arrange for a place to meet up if different family members have to flee in different directions.

“It’s not something to blow off. Water carries tremendous power. Just look at the river,” Armstrong said.

James Burger can be reached at 661‑395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @KernQuirks.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 6, 2017 - 08:45am PT
Don't looked fixed to me. :-/
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Jan 10, 2018 - 05:30pm PT
So how are the 'repairs' going? Did they finish?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 10, 2018 - 05:41pm PT
State missed problems that led to Oroville Dam near-disaster, report finds
By Kurtis Alexander Updated 10:08 pm, Friday, January 5, 2018

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/State-missed-problems-that-led-to-Oroville-Dam-12476316.php
monolith

climber
state of being
Jan 10, 2018 - 05:48pm PT
Oroville Dam: Phase two begins, DWR says spillway ready for winter

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/11/06/oroville-dam-phase-two-begins-dwr-says-spillway-ready-for-winter/
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jan 10, 2018 - 05:48pm PT
DWR FB page continued to paste pretty pics tho.

Yowza, what a mess!
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Jan 10, 2018 - 06:27pm PT
California Department of Water Resources?

Those are the same guys who found $350 million to pay homeowners to rip out their lawns.

I'm glad their priorities are in order.

Greedy f*#king taxpayers. Always wanting the dams to hold water, but never wanting to pay for it.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Jan 10, 2018 - 07:06pm PT
I thought they were doing some huge concrete coverage of the emergency spillway. That didn't happen?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 10, 2018 - 07:13pm PT
California Department of Water Resources?

Those are the same guys who found $350 million to pay homeowners to rip out their lawns.

Nope, try to blame somebody else.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 10, 2018 - 07:23pm PT
“The decisions were made with the best of intentions,” the report said, “but against the advice of civil engineering and geological personnel.”

“Although the poor foundation conditions at both spillways were well documented in geology reports, these conditions were not properly addressed in the original design and construction, and all subsequent reviews mischaracterized the foundation as good quality rock,” the report said.


The person who designed the spillway, the report said, had only “limited experience” with such work.

So they ignored problems, then hired somebodies friend, who must have been the lowest bidder. What could go wrong?

Why would anyone have any concerns about building more dams all over the place???
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jan 10, 2018 - 07:28pm PT
Sounds like the St. Francis Dam all over again.
Ballo

Trad climber
Jan 11, 2018 - 01:52pm PT
Oroville today, every single dam at some point in the future.
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Jan 11, 2018 - 05:33pm PT
Every dam will fail, every skyscraper will fail, given geologic time...

Dams can be engineered safely. Many have. Others have been built on gypsum. Failure to understand geology ... is failure.

We can't all be astronauts, and not all engineers are created equal, unfortunately. Smart organizations have third party review teams of designs, construction, and operations. Routine. I suppose California didn't make the A team.
Ballo

Trad climber
Jan 11, 2018 - 05:57pm PT
There are many dams which are going to end in disaster. Eugene, OR is going to end up 8ft underwater at some pint because of Hills Creek Dam, an earthen Dam which had hydro installed but has never been used for generating electricity because the PUC deemed it would lower the price of electricity too much. One day one of the MANY land slides which you can see around the reservoir is going to be too big and cause a wave which will wash over the berm and cause all the water to pour into two other dams.

Although, IMO, the real tragedy is how these dams stopped the flow of nutrients from the Pacific via salmon runs which account for 75% of the nutrients in the Pacific Northwest. Salmon proteins are found in core samples from old growth trees and its doubtful if they can grow as big or as fast without them. Will we ever see the bounty reported by Lewis & Clark ever again? When they were rowing up the Missouri they would fish using small hatchets because the fish were so big the river didn't cover them.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 11, 2018 - 11:23pm PT
You could pretty much apply the same critique to most dam managers in the country. Kind of a psychological deal with large infrastructure projects where folks want to assume the design is solid and that, once built, not much will will be required in the way of maintenance. The other half of that equation is that thinking about catastrophic failure isn't an institutional option so it isn't planned for from an operating perspective.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Feb 9, 2018 - 08:43pm PT
Can you sue dead people...?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 9, 2018 - 09:04pm PT
Luckily, the repairs won’t be tested this year.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 9, 2018 - 09:28pm PT
From the L.A. Times:

A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by The Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.

From Merced to Shafter??

As over budget as the dam is, we could repair it 20 times for the cost of this useless bit of a train.

edit: And that doesn't include the damned trains.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 9, 2018 - 09:46pm PT
Seriously? The ideology of unaccountable bureaucracy.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 10, 2018 - 11:17am PT
whats the path forward?

In many ways we're on the path forward.

Today there are roughly 260 million vehicles registered in the U.S. How many of these will be powered by internal combustion engines in 20 years?

Imagine the evolution in battery technologies during that same time.

Compare the air quality in Los Angeles today to what it was 20 years ago.

It's interesting to observe that today the innovation is largely being done in the private sector, while government boondoggles enrich cronies at the public's expense. Would it be cool to have a bullet train from L.A. to S.F.? Sure. Is the dead end scam which is the "bullet train" taking place today what anyone can call the path forward?
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 10, 2018 - 07:49pm PT
T Hocking posted:
Butte Co. DA wants to sue DWR over damage to river during reconstruction.
http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20180207/NEWS/180209806

Could get expensive.

From that link:
Concrete and soil that went into the Feather River weighed about 2,000-3,000 pounds per cubic yard, resulting in a total discharge between 3.4 billion and 5.1 billion pounds, the lawsuit alleges.

Ramsey said the state Fish and Game Code Section 5650 allows for a civil penalty of $10 per pound of material, which could total between $34 billion and $51 billion. It is the oldest California environmental statute.
TLP

climber
Feb 10, 2018 - 08:07pm PT
Probably is the oldest environmental regulation in California, likely dating from when large scale surface hydraulic mining was made illegal (it can still be done on a small scale within a flowing river, but that activity is on borrowed time too). The gargantuan mess being made by the miners was coming down river and the farmers, ranchers, and other landowners down in the Central Valley along the major rivers were understandably not happy at all. Just a new version of it, only the functional replacement of the foothills miners is the distant megafarms supplied by Oroville.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Feb 10, 2018 - 08:18pm PT
Could get expensive.


For the taxpayers/ratepayers. Those actually responsible will retire and enjoy a millionaire's pension (also paid for by the taxpayers) and never be held accountable.

The State can get tough when it wants to. They want to send this guy to State Prison for pumping 300,000 gallons of water out of his flooded cow pasture and into a ditch.

http://www.losbanosenterprise.com/news/local/crime/article186082403.html
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 11, 2018 - 12:57am PT
From the article posted by T Hocking:

“Basically, you dump, you’re liable,” he (Ramsey) said. “In this case, there is palatable negligence in this dam environmental disaster.”

I don't think this is what Ramsey said at all, you moron.

And there ought to be a law against dumping, which there is, and it ought to be enforced, which it probably will be.

As for dairyman Areias, he certainly doesn't deserve prison. A stiff fine should suffice to even the scales of justice.
TLP

climber
Feb 11, 2018 - 08:58am PT
Wow, I didn't realize that big of a percentage of the SWP went to metropolitan uses. Thanks for the excellent info. Still remote users for whom NoCal valley landowners wouldn't be happy to suffer the consequences from keeping the reservoir high. Totally agree about the residential irrigation rate idea, alas it's not feasible soon.
monolith

climber
state of being
Feb 11, 2018 - 09:07am PT
70% is not surprising, since the SWP was originated to provide water for residential and business use in southern California and SF bay.

Overall, agriculture uses about 4x what residential , business, government use in CA.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 11, 2018 - 11:08am PT

State water project water users need to pay, in total, for the water they use and they also need to cover the liability of their water delivery system.

I'm with you on paying for the full cost of the delivery system. I'm not so sure they should pay full liability for someone else's incompetence.

If a levee protecting the city of Sacramento is allowed to be improperly built (by the state of CA) and later fails when it shouldn't have, should the city of Sacramento be liable for the full costs of that disaster? Or should it be the state agency (meaning state tax payers)?

I don't dismiss that regulatory capture is a real thing and it needs to be addressed, but I don't think that relieves the state agency from what should be their liability.
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Feb 11, 2018 - 11:20am PT
If a levee protecting the city of Sacramento is allowed to be improperly built (by the state of CA) and later fails when it shouldn't have, should the city of Sacramento be liable for the full costs of that disaster? Or should it be the state agency (meaning state tax payers)?

If a levee is protecting Sacramento, it must mean that the place was built in a flood plain.

Shouldn’t the people who built in a flood plain bear responsibility for that stupid decision?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 11, 2018 - 11:39am PT
This is from the CA Water Resources Control Board. Tells a different story. I don't think breaking usage down by water districts gets it right. To arrive at an accurate representation of agricultural use as a whole, you have to add up the agricultural uses in all of those small water districts. This chart shows water use as a whole, not broken up by district.


Edit: What the chart doesn't show is the loss of water in transmission, everything from leaky pipes to eveaporation from stupid aqueducts which are uncovered and wider than they are deep.
John M

climber
Feb 11, 2018 - 08:04pm PT
I don't know that much about the history, but don't the various water systems make all of it possible? Meaning.. if the feds hadn't built the large dams, then the cities would have competed a long time ago for the smaller water supplies, and with their larger amounts of money would likely now own much of it.

Plus don't the large dams help keep the larger rivers flowing at a greater rate through the summer, so wouldn't that help support water tables throughout the valley?

Just some thoughts.
TLP

climber
Feb 11, 2018 - 08:15pm PT
Really good content being posted by all. On one small point just raised, no, flow in the major rivers doesn't help hardly at all with groundwater throughout the Valley. Lateral subsurface flow is not very fast, because the topography is really flat, and the rivers themselves are at the lowest point (line actually). Recharge is probably minimal except for the immediate floodplain of each river; whereas a lot of groundwater pumping is happening a loooong ways away from where the rivers can do any recharge. Pretty much the only way to recharge the aquifers that are being pumped out is to sit a lot of water on the ground surface where there is high enough soil permeability for the water to move downwards pretty quickly. If it doesn't go down, it evaporates during the summer.
John M

climber
Feb 11, 2018 - 08:34pm PT
Thanks for that explanation TLP..

Dingus.. I didn't mean that it was an in place physical system. I meant it more organically. If those large dams weren't built, then years ago the cities would have looked for other water sources. So they would have competed for the water that the merced irrigation district and others have. Their greater buying power would have changed things considerably. The eastside is a good example. Imagine 100 years ago, the little town of Merced competing with San Francisco for water. Who would have owned what if the feds hadn't built dams. Thats what I mean by "system". California's water supply is interrelated. No individual portion of it grew up in a vacuum.
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Feb 12, 2018 - 07:28am PT
John M posted:
Their greater buying power would have changed things considerably.

A friend living in (chronically dry) northern NM once told me: "Out here, the saying is 'Water flows toward money.'"
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 12, 2018 - 09:46am PT
Notice there are no great chunks missing out the spillway.

But has it actually been put to the test yet? 😈
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 12, 2018 - 09:51am PT
What’s water?
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 12, 2018 - 10:07am PT
If a levee is protecting Sacramento, it must mean that the place was built in a flood plain.

Shouldn’t the people who built in a flood plain bear responsibility for that stupid decision?

I absolutely agree that it is screwed up we allow developers to build in flood plains and then tax payers foot the bill for the flood protection and/or flood recovery.

Unfortunately, the people who built are usually developers who don't own the property by the time it floods.

But my point was:

If a state agency is in charge of building and/or overseeing a flood protection system, say a levee at Sacramento, should it really be the city of Sacramento's financial liability if the state screws up?

I don't think it should.

If Oroville was a completely private dam, then yes the owners should be 100% responsible for liability. But Oroville isn't a private dam. And I don't think the government should/would ever allow a private dam on that scale anyway.
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:05pm PT
^^^
Oh, the naivete. You have no idea.
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:20pm PT
So Dingus, the Stony Creek Dam isn't a gravity dam, correct? Interesting.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Sep 5, 2018 - 01:31pm PT
Billion Dollar Baby now

https://www.modbee.com/news/state/article217824370.html
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 5, 2018 - 02:09pm PT
"A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Attributed to Senator Everitt Dirksen
couchmaster

climber
Dec 11, 2018 - 08:42pm PT


The Sacramento Bee had a good summation video of the Oroville Dam rebuild. 4 months of work in one min. https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article221143740.html


ps, love that Dirkson quote Ksolem! $200 million NO! now $275 million NO! now $500 Million...NO! Now $870 million NO! now over $1`billion....somewhere in there. Dam thing.



Cost to repair stories changing:

Estimate to repair: $200 million - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4217910/Cost-repairing-Oroville-Dam-spillover-cost-200m.html

$275 million revised to $500 million - https://www.columbian.com/news/2017/oct/20/oroville-dam-repair-will-cost-at-least-500-million/

$500 million https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article221143740.html

$870 Million https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-oroville-spillway-cost-20180126-story.html

$1 Billion https://krcrtv.com/news/butte-county/oroville-dam-repair-costs-surpass-1b

OK, somewhere north of $1.1 Billion but it might be more: http://www.govtech.com/em/preparedness/Repair-of-Californias-Oroville-Dam-Exceeds-1-Billion.html



Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Dec 11, 2018 - 08:54pm PT
If a contractor jacked you around like that on a bathroom remodel job, he'd be doing time in prison.

Everybody on that payroll needs to be locked up.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Dec 11, 2018 - 09:23pm PT
^^It's not as simple as that. From couchmaster's link
DWR awarded an initial $275 million contract in April 2017 to Kiewit to immediately plan and mobilize crews and equipment to begin construction in May 2017.

This budget allowed Kiewit to begin necessary work while the project design was completed, and was not an estimate of the total project cost. Final plans for the main spillway were completed in July 2017 and final design plans for the emergency spillway were completed and approved in August 2018.
https://krcrtv.com/news/butte-county/oroville-dam-repair-costs-surpass-1b
couchmaster

climber
Dec 12, 2018 - 09:43am PT


Yeah, ^^ agree with ya gumby^^ I wonder how much of that is typical news media misrepresentation and/or mixed with their usual misunderstanding. You can be damned sure that the contracts were most likely 100 multi-pages of mumbo-jumbo, weasel clauses and legalese with extra "caveats", "clarifications" and "wheretofores".

If you hand that 100 page contract to a reporter and say: "all the info is in here", they don't really give a f*#k (much) about the caveats and wheretofores. See, they need to get a 200-300 word article in by 4pm today and it's 2pm now or they'll be looking for work elsewhere. They already know the who, when, where and why. They need "what".
They'll ask: "whats" the contract value?"
You say: "$200 million and launch into the full explanation with deep details explaining amongst other things that your company doesn't know sh#t about the substrate material but must jump on this ASAP and the contract is variable for that reason blah blah blah. But the reporters brain shut off at "$200 million" and they were mentally writing the article before you even got to yer first blah.

Ya got 188,000 people gonna get sh#t on and/or some of them killed if you don't get this f*#ker fixed and fixed NOW before the next heavy rain. So you gob it together and toss money at it and get yer asses to work on it.

That's just the way it is. Ca. should have been on it sooner, that's a valid criticizm. But locking someone up for hitting hard rock instead of broken chunks? (etc etc) Nope, not with you there Chaz.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Dec 12, 2018 - 09:46am PT
It seems like that's the only way it could be done given the time constraints, but it also seems like the contractor can come up with any number they want once the $275 million hook has been set.
couchmaster

climber
Dec 12, 2018 - 09:47am PT
It got fixed before Noah and his ark showed up. No one lost a house, 188,000 people got to go home and they all lived. Sometimes you have to pay the money. Large projects often have slop, large "huge emergency projects" more so. It's annoying, but important that they get done fast. What would the cost be if biblical rains came and the dam failed? When I look at the Bee's 1 min video I posted upthread of the whole project start to finish, I don't see anywhere near a billion bucks in there...but that's the illusion of it.

Don't get me started on the bullet train.....the numbers for that are insanely huge and the project no necessary. What kind of payoff will citizens ever receive?
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Dec 12, 2018 - 10:46am PT
From my March 18, 2017 post:


I'm guessing the cost of fixing it is over $500 million. (My current wild guess is 1 billion).

Yes, you can drain the lake for years if that is what it takes. The governor declares it an emergency situation and that is that.

I guess I should have a second career doing cost appraisals for billion dollar dam repairs...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 13, 2018 - 08:05am PT
DWR and Kiewit did an absolutely amazing job at Oroville.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 13, 2018 - 08:26am PT
Y’all are kinda hard on the damn lot.
$1 Billion is chump change for Jerry’s Kids RR To Nowhere, nawmean?
clifff

Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Dec 13, 2018 - 09:38am PT
If the Great Flood of 1862 happened again most of the dams would probably fail as all of the emergency spillways are based on the same wishfull analysis as Oroville.

California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again

In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since.

Sixty-six inches of rain fell in Los Angeles that year, more than four times the normal annual amount, causing rivers to surge over their banks, spreading muddy water for miles across the arid landscape. Large brown lakes formed on the normally dry plains between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, even covering vast areas of the Mojave Desert. In and around Anaheim, , flooding of the Santa Ana River created an inland sea four feet deep, stretching up to four miles from the river and lasting four weeks.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atmospheric-rivers-california-megaflood-lessons-from-forgotten-catastrophe/

https://www.google.com/search?q=1862+flood+california&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Mike Honcho

Trad climber
Glenwood Springs, CO
Feb 11, 2019 - 08:33am PT
If the Great Flood of 1862 happened again most of the dams would probably fail as all of the emergency spillways are based on the same wishfull analysis as Oroville.

Eh', maybe but not due to sh#t construction. My Wife is a leading Dam Safety Engineer for the State of Colorado here in Glenwood Springs, CO. Pretty sure they pay her a f*#kton and she runs a really tight ship.

We supply Lake Mead with a ridiculous amount of water, Parts of California and all of Las Vegas would go full Road Warrior in a month without it. Colorado seems to be on it, but then I'm a moron married to a Hydrologist/Dam expert..
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 11, 2019 - 09:02am PT
$2 Billion? And how many Golden Gate Bridges would that be?
In 2016 dollars would you believe FOUR?
Chaz

Trad climber
Straight Outta Crafton
Feb 11, 2019 - 10:12am PT
We'll see how long it lasts. The same people who let the last one go to sh#t are maintaining this one - and no one lost their job.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 11, 2019 - 11:49am PT
Guilty as charged - DWSPITSC;
Driving While Snowflake Pie In The Sky Crankloon 🙀
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 11, 2019 - 12:22pm PT
If the Great Flood of 1862 happened again most of the dams would probably fail as all of the emergency spillways are based on the same wishfull analysis as Oroville.

The emergency spillways were designed to be able to pass flows greater than the 1862 event.

Now just because the design specifies a spillway large enough to handle that flow, doesn't guarantee you that the spillway is built strong enough to physically handle it. As the current example shows.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 11, 2019 - 12:26pm PT
Eh', maybe but not due to sh#t construction. My Wife is a leading Dam Safety Engineer for the State of Colorado here in Glenwood Springs, CO. Pretty sure they pay her a f*#kton and she runs a really tight ship.

We supply Lake Mead with a ridiculous amount of water, Parts of California and all of Las Vegas would go full Road Warrior in a month without it. Colorado seems to be on it, but then I'm a moron married to a Hydrologist/Dam expert..

Maybe Co is better than AZ, but I wouldn't automatically assume that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risks_to_the_Glen_Canyon_Dam

Glen_Canyon_Dam


Making use of part of the old diversion tunnels that were used when the dam was built, the spillways were thus more economical to construct, but have less capacity and must have at least 30 percent clearance between the water level and the tunnel ceiling.[
...
At the onset of the flood in 1983, several false weather predictions made the Bureau of Reclamation late in opening the spillways.[citation needed] At first, as inflows exceeded normal levels, the penstocks were opened to full release, and as inflow continued to rise, the river outlet works were also opened, discharging more water into the river below. The reservoir, however, continued to rise, and Reclamation finally decided to raise the floodgates. Other than test runs, this was the first time that the spillways had ever been put into operation for practical reasons, this time running at 20,000 cubic feet (570 m3) per second per tunnel. In several days, noticeable vibrations began to make themselves felt in the dam wall and surrounding rock. A close examination of water exiting the spillways revealed noticeable debris, including sandstone, which signaled severe erosion taking place. Reclamation responded by reducing releases by half, however, the rumblings continued, and it was not long before the spillways were shut down completely for examination.[14] The rumblings were so notable that a worker in the employee dining room, located near the power plant, was reported to say that it "sounded like the barrages that he had experienced in Vietnam".[16]

Subsequently, inspection crews were lowered down the spillway tunnels in a small cart to assess damage. What they found was that at tunnel bends, the force of the water, by means of cavitation, had damaged and eroded the lining of the tunnel, which was 3-foot (0.91 m)-thick concrete. At some places the erosion had completely worn away the lining, exposing the soft sandstone underneath; this was the source of much of the debris. The tunnels could not be closed for long, however: the National Weather Service was reporting more rainstorms in the Colorado River Basin,
...
Reclamation was worried that the water would eventually erode around the diversion plug altogether, creating a connection to the reservoir floor. This uncontrolled spillage would cause the reservoir to drain.

LOL. Grand Teton didn't have a dam failure in 1976. It merely had a connection to the reservoir that caused the reservoir to drain.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 11, 2019 - 12:49pm PT
The 1983 rains created record setting flows through the Grand Canyon. Ken Grua was a boatman on a dory that used the high flows to set the record for the fastest trip through the canyon, less than 37 hours. Ken was also the first person to walk the length of the canyon at the river, a somewhat contrived trip as the entire river can not be walked at river level. That trip was one of the longest through the canyon at 5 weeks.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
Feb 11, 2019 - 02:16pm PT
That was documented in his book The Emerald Mile and was a great read.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Feb 11, 2019 - 03:15pm PT
Emerald Mile... one of my fav books. Highly recommended...