Profile image
By John Rolls (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Disturbing Aerial Photos Reveal How Bad the Oroville Dam Really Is +Video

Saturday, March 4, 2017 8:35
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

Image: Disturbing aerial photos reveal how bad the Oroville Dam really is


By: Vicki Batts  //

(Natural News) The destruction of the Oroville dam’s main and emergency spillways made major headlines early on in 2017. Some 188,000 Californian citizens were left with no choice but to leave their homes and evacuate. Fortunately, the dam held up and the residents were able to return home safely. However, the damage left behind is no less devastating — even if the sensation of urgency surrounding the dam has subsided.

At the peak of the crisis, it became very evident that the dam’s major spillway had become severely damaged. As dam operators used the main spillway to control the depth of Lake Oroville, a gigantic hole formed in the middle of the chute, and water began rushing down through the soil beneath.

This led them to turn to the emergency spillway for relief — but it too began to erode away, prompting the evacuation order. The emergency spillway was reportedly comprised of nothing but “bare earth,” and as Mike Adams explained, it is simply not surprising that gallons upon gallons of surging water would quickly cut through dirt and erode the spillway.

Not one but three separate environmental groups reportedly expressed their concerns about the stability of the emergency spillway. Twelve years ago in 2005, the Sierra Club, the Friends of the River, and South Yuba Citizens League filed a motion with the federal government to require the Oroville dam to be “armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside,” as part of the re-licensing agreement.

These urges were ignored by the government. And you know what they say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And as the water came pouring down, the Californian government chose to drop sandbags from the sky in the hopes of quelling the raging current.

Now, the Oroville dam and emergency spillway are essentially in a state of ruin. Water flowing from the broken spillway created an enormous ravine just south of the spillway, headed towards the dam. Rocks, trees, dirt and other debris pushed around by massive current of water mostly ended up in the Diversion Pool. State Department of Water Resources spokesperson Lauren Bisnett has said that the department estimates that there is currently up to 1 million cubic yards of debris that made its way into the pool.

To put that in perspective, Mercury News writer Risa Johnson says that based on the average truckload of 18 cubic yards of material, the state is looking at around 55,556 truckloads of debris to be cleaned up.

Bisnett reportedly commented, “We knew there was going to be significant damage.” Erosion measurements in and around the spillway are still being conducted.

Aerial photos and video of the dam show that the lower portion of the emergency spillway has been ripped to shreds and that an enormous crater was formed in the center of the main spillway.

Gizmodo reports that the spillway was supposed to be able to handle 250,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs), but notes that when the midsection collapsed when a mere 55,000 cfs were passing through it. There are many theories on what would have caused the collapse beginning to emerge. David Rogers, a dam failure expert from Missouri, has suggested that the spillway may have had cracks that were not tended to properly. He also posited that California’s state of drought may have contributed to it. According to the Sacramento Bee, Rogers has said it is possible that “the aging spillway could have weakened as it underwent contractions due to the sudden heavy soaking following years of dry weather.”

The damage is clearly extensive, whatever the cause. And certainly the damage that pertains to the emergency spillway might have been mitigated, had officials listened to the safety concerns brought to their attention over a decade ago. But, we all know the government is loath to listen to the concerns of their constituents.

Follow more real investigations at 

More great articles here:

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Total 8 comments
  • another example of what happens when corners are cut and rebar is not used. They saved a bundle by not using rebar.

    • Agenda 21…Making us all slaves.

    • I am thinking they didn’t use any wire mesh and probably cheap concrete to boot. During the drought the concrete formed cracks and during the storm the water got underneath and raised it all up. It was supposed to handle 250,000 cfs of flow and could not even handle 55,000 cfs.

    • Actually rebar WAS used, but in my opinion nowhere near enough nor heavy enough. Rebar can be seen protruding for broken concrete as high magnification.

  • There is ( Gold ) in them there hills. No shit Gold! This is only going to get more interesting as weeks progress. Think about this now, they say as much Gold as during the Gold Rush of past. Speculation of course. This is defiantly a joker card in the mix. We shall see.

    • DK

      The Gold hook is just a ruse to get corpse extras. Yes the death count will be in the 100,000′s of greedy opportunists panning the creeks in defiance of the clear and present evacuation, nothing at all to do with the dams construction and lack of maintenance or the fact it was long due replacement, or to do with a known 150 year flood cycle and that in March there is due the biggest Rockies snow pack melt in all history. This place is gone one way or another, even if by a miracle the day survives the year it will be so damaged it will have to be demolished to stop its failing next spring. Reason – lack of money.

      • DK

        miracle the dam survives :oops:

  • The California legislature has a way to fix this with their “Smoke and Mirrors” program and the “Emperor’s New Clothes” campaign ! Don’t look over here look over THERE !!! Actually in California it’s all done with “COKE and Mirrors” !!!

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.