OPINION: Forensic Report Confirms Oroville Dam Lapses

The verdict is in and California stands convicted of gross negligence in the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highest dam, Oroville. The dam on the Feather River came very close to failing last year, forcing the evacuation of a quarter-million people living downstream. Heavy outflows revealed structural flaws in the dam’s concrete spillway and when dam operators switched to an auxiliary spillway that dumped water onto an “unarmored” earthen hillside, it quickly eroded, threatening the entire structure with collapse.