My article in the March 3, 2017 issue of EIR, “Oroville Dam’s near catastrophe: A wake up call for the nation,” began with this: http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/eirv44n09-20170303/35-38_4409.pdf
“February 26, 2017—Late Sunday afternoon on February 12, an emergency alarm was sounded by the Yuba County, California Sheriff:
‘This is an evacuation order. Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered. A hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill.’
“Soon, 188,000 people were in their cars, jamming the roads and becoming more and panic stricken as authorities over emergency broadcast networks were warning that the Oroville Dam emergency spillway could collapse within the hour. Had it done so, a 30-foot wall of water would have swept down the valley of the Feather River. The casualties would have been in the thousands.”
For those 188,000 people that day was terrifying.
While the Oroville Dam spillway collapse has been that wake-up call for the nation, what has happened since at the dam provides us with another wake-up call, this one demonstrating how the rebuilding of the nation must be done.
What has been done in the four months since the dam’s spillway busted goes far beyond the streamlining of regulations cited by Hal. The entire regulatory structure of the state and federal governments have been thrown in the garbage can, including the normally required environmental impact statement. The announcement, bidding and awarding of contracts process, which normally takes years, has been done in less than two weeks. The actual construction work to repair the spillway began in early May, after more than two million tons of rock and dirt washed into the Feather River had been removed. That job was done on a 24 per-day, seven days a week schedule.
The construction contract to rebuild both the broken spillway and the emergency spillway was awarded to the Kiewit Corp., an internationally renowned contractor for big jobs. Work is now proceeding on a six-day per week and 20 hours per day schedule.
Earlier, on April 12, as reported by the Chico Enterprise-Record, Bill Croyle, state Department of Water Resources Acting Director said that normally, a project of this size would take years just for the planning. “We need hours and days for approval vs. weeks, months and years,” he said. Rather than have paperwork shuffle back and forth, staff from agencies will meet together, Croyle said.