Two nights is all that some of the residents who live down stream of the Orville dam had to spend out of their homes. Officials have cleared residents to return. However, the potential for the returned-concerns are uncertain.
After 40 hours of erosion from a nearby lake overfilling, the Orville dam, the nation’s largest, was in jeopardy. Engineers saw a hole that was growing in the dam for six days. Some residents wonder why the state leaders did nothing when environmental groups called for action in 2005. Congressman John Garamendi (Rep-D) is condemning the government for not taking action in the past.
State and federal agencies have been using helicopters to bring in blocks of concrete, rocks, and sand to reign in the dilemma. Luckily, the rain and snow patterns have changed, suggesting that the worst is in the past. However, Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for Federal Emergency has been accepted.
Now it is up to the site regulators to assess the damage and prepare for future concerns. The dams were inspected in August. At that time, no concerns were reported. While no homes were damaged, the state did not want to take any chances with human lives. That is why it called for the evacuation. At the moment, everything seems under control.
Cover: AP/ Jonathan J. Cooper and Paul Elias