California ordering state spillways checks after dam crisis

California ordering state spillways checks after dam crisis
Posted at 12:49 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 15:49:44-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California is ordering immediate spillway inspections at about 70 aging dams that it believes might not be sound enough to protect downstream communities in a flood.

Supervising engineer Daniel Meyersohn at California's dam-safety division said Wednesday that a state records review is identifying big, aging dams that have people downstream for on-site spillway reviews. Meyersohn says the state is sending letters to dozens of those dam owners ordering them to carry out extra design reviews and site inspections.

The orders are part of stepped-up state reviews after this winter's surprise failures of both spillways at the Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest. That crisis forced the evacuation of newly 200,000 people in February.

Meyersohn says some of the dams targeted for extra inspections date back to California's 19th-century Gold Rush.