Tags: oroville dam | california | mold | spillway

At Oroville Dam, the Little Dutch Boy Has Run Out of Fingers

Image: At Oroville Dam, the Little Dutch Boy Has Run Out of Fingers
A view of of the heavily damaged spillway at Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017, in Oroville, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Saturday, 12 Aug 2017 12:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I think we have reached the “Mommy make it stop!” point for residents in the vicinity of California’s Oroville Dam. The distinction of living near the nation’s tallest dam is fast losing its allure.

Let me walk you through the high points.

Living next to the dam during the Golden State’s drought was no problemo. Over time became the landscape became brown and blasted but it didn’t create any problems with the dam. Then came the rain.

Ending California’s multi-year drought was good news for farmers and fish but Oroville residents would have preferred a more gradual conclusion. A return to normal rainfall that was as slow as the onset of the drought would have been nice.

That wasn’t the way it worked out. Mother Nature decided to make up for years of no rain in just a few soaking months. When you have the nation’s tallest dam, you also have the nation’s tallest spillway. It should have come as no surprise to the states dam “experts” that water cascading down a spillway of that design would be gathering a real head of steam.

But it was a surprise. The impact of water hitting the spillway at 70 mph far exceeded the design specs and the spillway began to fail. Sensing a potential disaster, officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for almost 100,000 residents.

The dam held. This summer the state started blowing up the spillway with a series of “controlled” explosions. Bureaucrats with dynamite are never a comforting thought, but that evidently went off without a hitch.

But during the repair process area wildfires starting consuming the new brush produced by the rain and a portion of the area was evacuated until the fire was contained.

Now the latest calamity for area residents is mold on the dam.

Well, if not mold at least green spots. SFGate.com reports that, “A 15­member team at UC Berkeley…issued a report through the university's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management…reveals that a wet area on the dam where the grass is lush — and appear as green spots — might be the result of a slow leak that could lead the dam to breach.”

The report states, “Oroville Dam may be facing a breach danger from a serious and a dangerous form of a slow motion failure mode of the left abutment of the dam.”

Naturally the same state “experts” that said the spillway was just fine before the rain are now assuring residents the mold, er green spots, are just fine, too. (One wonders if any of these experts live in the area and have to rely on the accuracy of their predictions like Oroville dam residents do?)

The state, which may be channeling SNL’s Tommy Flanagan, says the green spots are just vegetation caused by low spots where rain collects or a spring that happens to run uphill.

For some reason this denial doesn’t create a warm, fuzzy feeling among area residents.

My advice would be for the state, the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, and local officials to sit down in the same room and hash out a solution for the Oroville Dam. That way residents can go back to discussing normal topics. Like the weather.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

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I think we have reached the “Mommy make it stop!” point for residents in the vicinity of California’s Oroville Dam. The distinction of living near the nation’s tallest dam is fast losing its allure.
oroville dam, california, mold, spillway
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2017-43-12
Saturday, 12 Aug 2017 12:43 PM
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