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Guru
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Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/07/2018 6:07 AM

I note a report released today commenting on the 2017 event at "The highest dam" in the USA.

Reading the report preview, I was rather concerned to see no comments relating to the inoperative "through wall" relief system that had been inoperative for many years and that if operational could have reduced the flows in the failed spillway and the later spectacular operation/concerns highlighted in operation of the overflow spillway.

If I've read properly, it says there should be someone responsible, so that next time there will be an individual to hold accountable, but doesn't seem to indicate that person will actually have authority to cause action to be implemented.

Has anyone here had opportunity to be involved in review of this report?

I've put this into "general" rather than civil as I feel that the implications reach into other fields such as oilfields, power stations, electrical and transport.

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Guru

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#1

Re: Oroville Dam follow up

01/07/2018 9:55 AM

As I said in my response to the original piece, it's all about money and priorities.

I believe that the deficiencies were well known, and never properly addressed.

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Guru
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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Oroville Dam follow up

01/08/2018 3:50 PM

Sadly I believe this is proof that "clever" managerial matrix, insulating stove pipe and baffling circles of bureaucratic responsibilities can prevent even a near disaster from holding people accountable.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Oroville Dam follow up

01/08/2018 5:32 PM

Congress is proving that every day.

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Guru

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#2

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/08/2018 12:04 AM

"...that next time there will be an individual to hold accountable..."

Which of course means that there wasn't anyone accountable previously. That in itself is inexcusable!

... and you are right: it won't do any good to have someone accountable, if that person doesn't have the authority and finances available to enforce his/her decisions.

I'm quite happy to live a few valleys away, and at a higher altitude!

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Guru

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/08/2018 2:43 PM

Does this mean that there is a job opportunity ?

I'm willing to be held accountable as long as the pay is right.

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Guru
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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/09/2018 8:56 AM

Wouldn't depend on the consequences to the accountable party. If the penalty is the guillotine, I am out!

Why would not the "through wall" release gates be operable? Rusted together?

This is where a proper Preventive Maintenance/Testing Schedule can really help.

Subsystems need periodic exercise, especially large valves/gates, and the motor operators.

Basic guidelines about material washout downstream:

Water concentrated into a high velocity stream is a cutter/mover of material.

Water spread out over a wide area under flow is gentle as a spring rain.

I totally agree that accountability without executive authority is worthless. That is like blaming the janitor.

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/16/2018 3:56 AM

Hello,

The reason that I raised the through wall drain is that it was known to have issues since an earlier WHS accident and had not been addressed for the many years that intervened. The accident happened during routine "exercising" of the valve and from what I saw in reports was a near miss 7 fatality opportunity that did result in some broken limbs and such.

If that drain had been serviceable, it would have enabled flow to be bled away for the many days after the initial spillway damage was noted and may (I do not have access to data, so please regard this "may" in a very reserved tone) have negated the need for the emergency spillway to have overtopped at all. The flow from that outlet may (reserved again) have stopped the debris that made its way to inhibit the power station outlets, again reducing the through wall relief that this would also represent.

While it's good to know why the spillways failed under that stress, that level of stress would have been reduced if the designers intent had been supported.

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#3

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/08/2018 8:43 AM

Here's a link to David Wagman's article about the report.

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Power-User

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#8

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/09/2018 11:19 AM

" implications reach into other fields such as oilfields, power stations, electrical and transport."

How about politics? Diverting funds that could have been used for repairs or upgrades. Who is ultimately responsible? Could it be moonbeam-Brown out there?

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/09/2018 12:16 PM

First operating premise of Politics and/or Bureacracy in (Basic Politics 101) is:

Take at least some personal credit for the success of others, while being able to shed all blame for personal failure onto others...

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Oroville Dam Follow Up

01/09/2018 1:23 PM

That sounds political to me....

The trick is knowing when to glom onto that success, or when to run like stampeding rats down the bow line.

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