Largest Dam in U.S. Overflows, Causing Damage


After considerable rainfall in California, water flowed over an emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam for the first time… ever!

The dam, which is located on Lake Oroville, incurred extensive erosion damage causing the Northern California dam’s main spillway to overflow. 

The Sacramento Bee reported that it was the first time in the reservoir’s nearly 50-year history that the emergency spillway has ever been used.

Water began running over the spillway Saturday around 8 a.m., causing unexpected erosion and sending large portions of concrete soaring, while creating a 200-foot-long, 30-feet-deep hole that continues to grow.

Eric See, a Department of Water Resources agency spokesman, said, “This is a very unusual event for us here in Oroville.”

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After assessing the damages, engineers have determined that the erosion will continue to get bigger until it reaches bedrock.

Bill Croyle, the Department of Water Resources’ acting director, said that the agency is monitoring the erosion both on site and through cameras.

“This is mother nature, kind of, kicking us a few times here,” he said.

Croyle noted that the spillway will need to be completely replaced due to the damage.

The Sacramento Bee reports Croyle told Gov. Jerry Brown that fixing the main spillway may come with a price tag of $100 million to $200 million.

H/T: Daily Mail

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