L.A. Officials Still Unsure on What to Do With the Oroville Dam

The broken Oroville Dam isn’t getting any better, and with severe storms on the horizon, L.A. officials are at a loss at what to do.

Back in February, officials were worried that the damaged dam wouldn’t hold and caused almost 200,000 local residents to flee their homes with little to no warning. As the concrete in the dam was wearing away, workers started to use an emergency spillway to deal with the excess water that piled up from intense rainstorms.

However, the reinforced spillway itself was deteriorating, putting thousands of residents at risk of home flooding. 

After the February storms, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) reported that the dam did not sustain the damage that was expected. However, no one has yet to figure out the problems with the deteriorated spillways and dam structure simply because there is not enough time. But since Northern California is forecasted to experience heavy storms in the near future, it looks like there could be yet another disaster waiting to happen.

Even with this threat looming, Bill Croyle, the director of the DWR explains to the Los Angeles Times that it would be another month or so before the option of whole dam repairs can even be put on the table. So for now, they will focus on the spillways

“It’s a lot easier to take two to three years to do this, but I don’t have two to three years, I have some months,” Croyle explains. “I need to make sure we put a spillway back in place.”

As of Friday, April 14, officials will reopen the damaged spillways. The goal is to lower the lake level to a reasonable amount so there will be no flooding and spillage from the almost defunct dam.

Currently, there are plenty of difva-waterdamageferent agencies included in making the plans for the dam’s reconstruction. They are waiting to hear back from the California government for approval as there are all sorts of technical issues that need to be smoothed out.

Typically, polymers could be used to reinforce the concrete dam, as polymers have been used as overlays on concrete for more than 35 years. However, since the water pressure is so strong, authorities have to take a more severe approach. 

But before they get started, the DWR will host an open house with those who live downstream so they will be more aware of the goings-on at the dam. This is set for April 27.

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