Isabella Dam undamaged after earthquake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that there was no damage to Isabella Dam from an earthquake that occurred July 24.
The dam, which is on the Kern River between Kernville and Lake Isabella in California, is 20 miles northwest of the quake's epicenter. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit at 9.46 a.m.
Reports say that the monitoring tools used to watch the structure during an earthquake recorded the seismic changes, prompting the Corps to further inspect the dam. No risk of dam failure as a result of the earthquake was reported.
Isabella Dam is in the early stages of a modification process that will increase dam safety measures. Construction of the modifications - which are intended to deal with seepage, overtopping and seismic issues - will start in 2017.
Reclamation awards contract for dam safety civil work
The U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a US$45.7 million contract to Suulutaaq Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska, for dam safety civil construction work. This work includes an overlay of Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam to improve its seismic stability.
Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam - part of the 198.72-MW Folsom Dam hydroelectric project on California's American River - is one of 12 structures containing Folsom Lake.
The work is to include excavation of existing embankments, importing 450,000 cubic yards of processed filter and gravel drain material, placement of 1 million cubic yards of shell-based fill material from an existing stockpile, and excavation at the dam toe to install drain systems of pipe and filter.
When seeking bidders for this work, Reclamation estimated it would cost $25 million to $100 million.
Corps begins drilling at Bluestone Dam
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began geotechnical drilling in the New River below Bluestone Dam on July 9, 2013. According to a press release, the drilling should last through October.
Located near Hinton, W.Va., Bluestone Dam impounds a 10.7-mile stretch of the New River and a tributary, Bluestone River. Small holes are being drilled into the bed of the river "to determine the geotechnical conditions" of the area for the next step of the Bluestone Dam Safety Assurance Program. The program is a multi-phase process to bring Bluestone Dam up to current safety standards by reducing risk of failure and damage.
The Corps set up a drilling platform at a number of spots to:
- Extract samples of the riverbed;
- Perform technical analysis of the riverbed; and
- Fill the holes back in.
The Corps is working to minimize the environmental impact.
High-hazard Centennial Dam faces fines for dam safety violations
The New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection is trying to convince a judge to find the owners and operators of Centennial Dam in Medford. The proposed fine is $1 million as recompense for 19 years of Dam Safety Act violations.
Centennial Dam impounds the waters of Kettle Run, a Rancocas Creek tributary, into a 53-acre lake. It is ranked a high-hazard dam, meaning its failure would cause catastrophic damage and loss of life. The dam is owned by Joseph Samost, owner of Centennial Land and Development, and the Centennial Pines Club, a group of homeowners that control a smaller portion and also operate the dam.
Violations include failure to upgrade the spillway to accommodate increased amounts of rainfall; to make needed infrastructure repairs; and to submit biannual reports on the dam's condition, an emergency plan, and an engineering plan.
State Deputy Attorney General Aaron Love proposed the bulk of the fine be paid by the corporate owner of the dam, with 10% paid by the operators.
Samost claims the fine is "nonsense," citing a 1993 court settlement with the department that abdicated the owner of some of the proposed responsibilities and requirements. Love responded by pointing out that the 1993 settlement was declared null and void in 2005 when a Superior Court Judge realized that all parties did not sign the documents.
Judge Karen Suter has not made a decision, instead choosing to review the arguments presented in court. While she has not moved on the case, she did say at a late July hearing that she wanted dam repairs completed immediately.