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Oroville Dam Spillways Ready to Break?


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#21 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:42 PM

 
This dam,like many others was more than likely designed for flood protection primarily after some apocalyptic flooding in the 1950s where the flooding was the heaviest on record.  I know that sounds bizarre considering the bad drought the state has been in, but it wasn't always that way.
 
https://pubs.usgs.go...137f/report.pdf
 
I understand your idea - they'd essentially need to pump it to above ground or below ground storage tanks.  

This water supplies irrigation in the Valley, etc... The complex has many missions. Water supply, hydroelectric, flood control, recreation, environmental, etc...

What you are yalkinge about is called "pumped storage" when dealing with hydroelectric. I am sure they do it in Cali for water supply... Somewhere? But it all races down elevation to the cities by the sea anyway. Water just travels down aqueducts & canals. In Oroville's case, starting @ the Feather river. Water can even go uphill in spots without pumps, if it continues on downhill. I think Mulholland devised a system out of Owens Valley to supply LA @ turn of 20th century? Water from Lake Oroville goes all the way to Los Angeles too. Helps supply them as well.

In our neck of the woods, pumped storage is used for power generating... Like here @ Kinzua:

220px-USACE_Kinzua_Dam_downriver.jpg

https://en.m.wikiped...erating_Station

https://en.m.wikiped...ydroelectricity

Edited by ExiledInIllinois, 13 February 2017 - 01:44 PM.


#22 dpberr

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:52 PM

"How can they use the emergency spillway if the elevation hasn't reach it yet. Just like your bathroom sink. Water won't go down the hole to the drain if it can't reach it."

 

Interesting question.  I suppose you'd have to look back at points since 1968 and see if there was the opportunity to test it.  I'm surprised that the state never tested an emergency spillway on a flood control dam.  

 

The Army Corps routinely conducts emergency spillway and gates on their dams. 



#23 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 02:17 PM

"How can they use the emergency spillway if the elevation hasn't reach it yet. Just like your bathroom sink. Water won't go down the hole to the drain if it can't reach it."
 
Interesting question.  I suppose you'd have to look back at points since 1968 and see if there was the opportunity to test it.  I'm surprised that the state never tested an emergency spillway on a flood control dam.  
 
The Army Corps routinely conducts emergency spillway and gates on their dams. 


Spillway? Maybe emergency gates at dam or lock structure.

I am lock & dam operator w/Corps. Interesting, I have to ask. I have never heard about that w/the three reservoirs in District. Coralville (Iowa City), Red Rock/Sailorville (Des Moines are). I would think it would create quite a mess. The road @ Coralville would be wiped out, like it was after 1993 flood event.

Probably depends on the design too. IMO, Oroville looks like a unique design. It was built in 1960s after Baldwin Hills ('63) disaster. I wonder if that factored into design... Had to be on their mind!

#24 Dante

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 02:22 PM

The thing that really kills me is all these reservoirs that are filled to above capacity and we're just dumping water.  The state has a long history of droughts but Sacramento has not figured a way to save and store water for a "non-rainy" day.  I catch the water in my shower as it heats up in a bucket and use that to refill my toilet when I flush.  It's just become a routine thing for us.  In the summer when the rains stop we will use that water to partially irrigate our yard/garden.   

Population of Cali has virtually doubled since the mid 70s. Gerry Brown and types like him insist on retarding growth(oddly enough encouraging open borders at the same time combined with a welfare state) by not building any new water or power infrastructure since then. 



#25 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 02:54 PM

Population of Cali has virtually doubled since the mid 70s. Gerry Brown and types like him insist on retarding growth(oddly enough encouraging open borders at the same time combined with a welfare state) by not building any new water or power infrastructure since then. 


I am almost positive that the water at Oroville is not being "wasted". Yes, power gen is off line because of the situation.

Just a Google maps search shows canals all over the Valley. It just doesn't rush to the sea.

#26 Boyst62

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:04 PM

Let's cross our fingers for an earf quack

#27 DC Tom

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:04 PM

"How can they use the emergency spillway if the elevation hasn't reach it yet. Just like your bathroom sink. Water won't go down the hole to the drain if it can't reach it."

 

Interesting question.  I suppose you'd have to look back at points since 1968 and see if there was the opportunity to test it.  I'm surprised that the state never tested an emergency spillway on a flood control dam.  

 

The Army Corps routinely conducts emergency spillway and gates on their dams. 

 

I think the emergency spillway at Oroville is passive, in that it's not opened or closed directly...but once the water gets to a certain height, it just flows over it.  They control whether it's used or not by regulating the flow of the main spillway.  So to test the emergency spillway, they basically have to flood the reservoir to a critical state.  Plus, my understanding is that it was always expected to be a one-time use thing: it's a dirt slope, so it was expected it would disappear if it were ever used.  

 

The problem they're having now, as I understand it, is that the concrete curtain under the dirt has been compromised - the spillway's a dirt slope, but the lip of it is concrete - and they're afraid of that going.  And that's something they couldn't test without scouring the hillside away.

 

So...yeah, pretty much untestable.  If there were a word for that sort of testing, it would be "Chernobyl."



#28 Chef Jim

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:07 PM

I am almost positive that the water at Oroville is not being "wasted". Yes, power gen is off line because of the situation.

Just a Google maps search shows canals all over the Valley. It just doesn't rush to the sea.

 

There are plenty of other reservoirs over here closer to the ocean that are full and the overflow it going directly to the ocean.  



#29 Dante

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:11 PM

 

There are plenty of other reservoirs over here closer to the ocean that are full and the overflow it going directly to the ocean.  

Hopefully this disaster doesn't wash away the bullet train development. Something really important!



#30 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:35 PM

 
I think the emergency spillway at Oroville is passive, in that it's not opened or closed directly...but once the water gets to a certain height, it just flows over it.  They control whether it's used or not by regulating the flow of the main spillway.  So to test the emergency spillway, they basically have to flood the reservoir to a critical state.  Plus, my understanding is that it was always expected to be a one-time use thing: it's a dirt slope, so it was expected it would disappear if it were ever used.  
 
The problem they're having now, as I understand it, is that the concrete curtain under the dirt has been compromised - the spillway's a dirt slope, but the lip of it is concrete - and they're afraid of that going.  And that's something they couldn't test without scouring the hillside away.
 
So...yeah, pretty much untestable.  If there were a word for that sort of testing, it would be "Chernobyl."


Exactly! You explained it much better! I like the Chernobyl thing better then testing my bathtub. ;-)


Oh... Also, I mentioned Coralville in Iowa City area. When that passive spillway went, it destroyed the road and everything below it, exposing ancient seabed and fossil imprints. Today you walk that a emergency spillway and take look at the fossil imprints that were exposed... Pretty cool.

 
There are plenty of other reservoirs over here closer to the ocean that are full and the overflow it going directly to the ocean.  


Yikes!

I see what you are saying.

But cost analysis vs. These few events had to be factored in? I suppose they could spend trillions on more storage... But what if it just sits there like a "sleeping Jesus". Does the cost justify it?

Everything is @ capacity. Win-Lose (people flooded are the losers) I reckon. Win-win is at capacity and it stops raining/snowing... Until next year! ;-)

Slow and steady fill/empty, stay at capacity during wet.

#31 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:05 PM

Food for thought:

This is kind of how the Middle Three Great Lakes works. Michigan, Huron, and Erie act as the "reservoirs." The Niagara Escarpment stretches from Central NYS up to and separates (underwater) Georgian Bay from Lake Huron, pops above water and rings around Lake Michigan down through Door County, Green Bay, & central Wisonsin impounding (to the north) the three Lakes. But, the water is going down, down, down through history.

The "spillway" is at the Niagara River. Georgian Bay is flooded and impounded beyond the escarpment. The drain for Lakes is Lake Ontario and St.Lawrence river (Atlantic).

When you look at The Falls, you are watching water go through a natural spillway.

You know where one of the other "spillways" is? Last one left on middle Lakes... @ the Chicago portage. It's just that we keep that spillway open and flowing year round. Before the Lakes receeded, it over flowed at Chicago's continental divide, along with other places around the Lakes. And it did routinely over flow, seasonally that is, up until the time the first Europeans came to the area. The difference in the Chicago area is only 5 feet from the top of that divide, spilling over that is to MS river basin.

Edited by ExiledInIllinois, 13 February 2017 - 04:40 PM.


#32 DC Tom

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:40 PM

Excellent picture of the damage.

 

C4j5fd9WQAAPEz4.jpg

 

Emergency spillway at top, main spillway below.  Half the main spillway is gone.  The hill below the emergency spillway is seriously eroded.

 

Note the high voltage power lines below the emergency spillway.  That's just brilliant.  Fortunately, they're probably not currently live, since they're from the Oroville power house, which is shut down.

 

Another view of the emergency spillway erosion, looking downhill.

 

http://www.trbimg.co...ville-20170213/



#33 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:43 PM

Excellent picture of the damage.
 
C4j5fd9WQAAPEz4.jpg
 
Emergency spillway at top, main spillway below.  Half the main spillway is gone.  The hill below the emergency spillway is seriously eroded.
 
Note the high voltage power lines below the emergency spillway.  That's just brilliant.  Fortunately, they're probably not currently live, since they're from the Oroville power house, which is shut down.
 
Another view of the emergency spillway erosion, looking downhill.
 
http://www.trbimg.co...ville-20170213/


Thanks... If that was a straight drop, it would look like Falls! :-/


I was wondering last night, why design power transmission over the e-way? I read that they were dismantling lines last week.

#34 LABillzFan

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:47 PM

Excellent picture of the damage.

 

C4j5fd9WQAAPEz4.jpg

 

Emergency spillway at top, main spillway below.  Half the main spillway is gone.  The hill below the emergency spillway is seriously eroded.

 

Note the high voltage power lines below the emergency spillway.  That's just brilliant.  Fortunately, they're probably not currently live, since they're from the Oroville power house, which is shut down.

 

Another view of the emergency spillway erosion, looking downhill.

 

http://www.trbimg.co...ville-20170213/

 

The only thing missing from this story is Steve Carell in an ark.



#35 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:02 PM

That is a great pic Tom. If things go. Will it go to the upper right of that pic? The spillway get deeper and deeper? Rip open? OR... Is it just that the Feather River couldn't handle the influx. What would a spillway breech look like on that pic?


See the nice picnic area?

Round up all the Bay Area Libs! WE ARE GOING FIELD TRIPPING! What liberal doesn't like a field trip and picnic!!!😆😆😆. FREE!

#36 Limeaid

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:32 PM

The thing that really kills me is all these reservoirs that are filled to above capacity and we're just dumping water.  The state has a long history of droughts but Sacramento has not figured a way to save and store water for a "non-rainy" day.  I catch the water in my shower as it heats up in a bucket and use that to refill my toilet when I flush.  It's just become a routine thing for us.  In the summer when the rains stop we will use that water to partially irrigate our yard/garden.   

 

My wife does same thing capturing water in shower filling buckets as the water is heating and uses it for her fish and plants.

 

She comes from Hong Kong where they do not have long pipes from hot water heater which cooldown in pipes meaning you are basically wasting energy.

They use electric heaters which heat water as needed.   Maybe not as much hot water as in a 50 gallon tank but a lot more efficient sometimes.



#37 Helpmenow

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 08:10 PM

Fires, floods, earthquakes, drought and over population what a place.

#38 LABillzFan

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 09:24 PM

Fires, floods, earthquakes, drought and over population what a place.

 

Yeah, but look at that view!



#39 CowgirlsFan

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 10:05 PM

When I went to see the Bills play in LA back in October,we drove by Lake Cachuma.
I was so heartbroken to see that it was all but gone. I so wish all this run off could make its way to there.

#40 ExiledInIllinois

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 10:44 PM

Design questioned 12 years ago:

 

http://www.usatoday....a-dam/97874106/