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New cracks found in concrete at Oroville Dam Spillway

Oroville, Calif.—Less than one month after completion, the Department of Water Resources reports that hairline cracks in the concrete have been found at the new Oroville Dam Spillway.

Posted: Nov 28, 2017 10:44 PM
Updated: Feb 9, 2018 10:28 AM

Oroville, Calif.—Less than one month after completion, the Department of Water Resources reports that hairline cracks in the concrete have been found at the new Oroville Dam Spillway.

The cracks were first noticed in the brand new concrete slabs of the dam on October 2.

A month later, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked the DWR to explain why the cracks appeared, and if they pose a danger.

According to Erin Mellon of the DWR, they don't.

"This is a normal occurrence to happen on a construction project. All concrete has this result in the placement. It's just physics of how concrete works," Mellon said.

After receiving an assessment from the head of the spillway reconstruction project, a federal engineer agreed that continued monitoring and evaluation of the cracks will be sufficient.

"These hairline cracks that are visible on top of the spillway are many times not even visible, do not cause concern and are not abnormal and do not need any repair," she said.

But not everyone agrees. According to the Associated Press, UC Berkeley civil engineering professor Robert Bea, who released his own study on why the spillway failed earlier this year, said that cracking in high-strength reinforced concrete structures is not to be expected

Not everyone is concerned though. Donald Moore works downtown and lives right next to the river. He said he was evacuated during the crisis earlier this year and said he has faith in the DWR's work.

"The DWR is sure doing the best possible job that they can and so from what I can tell, they're not schisting anywhere so I'm comfortable being here," Moore said.

Tayler Rash has lived in Oroville all her life and said even though she wasn't evacuated last year, she's worried about the potential effects of being out of work will have, should there be another emergency.

"There's always going to be a little bit of concern with anything, I mean, that's just like hearing things is going to stir up a little bit emotions, it's going to make you a little nervous about things, but I don't think I'm going to be scared until something actually happens that makes us evacuate like last time," Rash said.

Mellon also told Action News Now in a statement that the concrete is still certified to handle flows of 100,000 cubic-feet square per second.

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