Thinking About Dams << UPDATE! Calif. Dam has FAILED

In the previous post COMMENTS we were talking about the big dam fail in California.

From Mining Awareness

FICTION “The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for most dams in the U.S.”

FACT State dam safety programs have oversight of most dams in the United States. State agencies regulate more than 80% of the Nation’s dams.

FICTION “Dams are like roads and bridges. The government takes care of them.”

FACT –  Most dams are privately owned. Dam owners are responsible for maintenance and upgrades. Private dam owners are responsible for more than 65% of the Nation’s dams. Many lack the financial resources necessary for adequate dam maintenance.

FICTION –  “There are only a few dams in my State.”

FACT –  There are more than 84,000 dams in the United States (as of 2010). Most States are home to hundreds—or thousands—of dams, and each must meet regulatory criteria. • Texas has the most dams—more than 7,000—followed by Kansas (6,087), Missouri (5,099), Oklahoma (4,755), and Georgia (4,606). • Mississippi, North Carolina, and Iowa each have more than 3,000 dams. • Five States—Alabama, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and South Dakota—each have more than 2,000 dams. • Fifteen other States have more than 1,000 dams each. • Delaware has the fewest number of dams, with 86.

FICTION “That dam has been here for years—it’s not going anywhere.”

FACT –  Advancing age can make dams more susceptible to failure. The average age of dams in the United States is more than 53 years. As dams get older, deterioration increases and repair costs rise. Some common problems of older dams are: • Deteriorating metal pipes and structural components; metal rusts over time, and after 50 years it can fail completely. • Sediment-filled reservoirs. Some sediment may have contaminants from chemicals in runoff from upstream. • Runoff from subdivisions and businesses built upstream. Roofs and concrete streets and sidewalks increase the volume of runoff to the reservoir.

= = = = SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS = = = =


Evacuations ordered below Oroville Dam; failure of emergency spillway ‘expected’





N. O. Opens Spillway

Major spillway of rain-swollen Mississippi River opened as a safeguard for New Orleans area

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a major spillway Sunday near New Orleans for the first time in nearly five years, seeking to decrease the vast flow of the swollen Mississippi River as a safeguard to the low-lying city.

. . . . The Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans District commander had said Tuesday that he was confident the high Mississippi River will pass safely through Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico.–Mississippi-River-Flooding

Video report: WDSU news crew takes to sky with State Police for opening of Bonnet Carré Spillway


DRONE VIDEO of it made by Army Corps of Engineers


BONNET CARRE’ SPILLWAY – US Army Corps of Engineers
Zoomable MAP of it

Morganza Floodway – US Army Corps of Engineers

The Advocate Army Corps of Engineers: No decision yet on opening Morganza; Corps says opening it would not cause additional flooding in Atchafalaya Basin

” . . .  The spillway diverts water from the Mississippi River north of Baton Rouge into the Atchafalaya Basin.

If they do open the spillway, the Corps does not believe it will cause any additional flooding in the Atchafalaya Basin, Boyett [ chief of public affairs of the Corps’ New Orleans District] said.

The Corps’ projections show water will hit about the same levels as the 2011 flooding reached in the basin regardless of whether water from the Mississippi is diverted through the spillway into that area, he said.

Flooding in the basin caused by high water on the Red River should subside just as water from the Mississippi begins pouring into it from the Morganza Spillway if it’s opened, Boyett said. . . “

  High Flows and Flood History on the Lower Mississippi River Below Red River Landing, LA (1543-2011)


Monday Chex-Mix

We have to wait until sunset to check seismic activity as they have started the work trucks or drilling at Bayou Corne.  Meanwhile, here are some Chex-Mix items we found of general interest –

NEW PHOTOS from the official website.          1234

The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries has a permit for seismic ‘exploration’.

A lot of B.P. oil fund news and Gulf coast ecology items are at this Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration website. < Added this RSS feed to the sidebar

This 2012 news item about the RESTORE (refill B.P.’s pockets) Act has this interesting bit on Corexit –

[snip] . . . The region still faces much uncertainty two years after the spill. We still don’t fully understand how the volatile cocktail of 206 million gallons of crude oil and 1.8 million gallons of the oil dispersant Corexit that were dumped into the water will affect commercial and recreational fisheries, or juvenile fish development. But signs are already less than encouraging. Shrimp harvests are down, and many with no eyes are turning up in nets. Fishermen are landing red snapper and more than 20 other species covered in lesions. Dolphins are stranding themselves on beaches in unprecedented numbers. Oyster beds have been decimated and harvests remain well below average.

The Gulf is also a key spawning ground for bluefin tuna, among the highest-value and most-overfished species in the ocean. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates as much as 20 percent of the 2010 spawn was killed by the oil spill, the agency predicts the loss will only translate to a 4 percent reduction in “future spawning biomass”—the population of fish that grow to reach reproductive maturity.

Scientists don’t expect this blip will cause major hardship for the long-term viability of the species, but it doesn’t mean bluefin or any other species should be considered safe from the oil’s effects. We likely won’t have conclusive evidence of the full extent of the spill’s damage for years. Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, for instance, the region’s previously productive herring fishery suddenly collapsed four years after the spill occurred, and it has yet to recover. Many signs point to Exxon’s oil as a cause of that delayed reaction.”

A 2012 RAND study on how much it will cost Louisiana to protect itself from hurricanes.

Lots and lots on structural failures in New Orleans during Katrina – New Orleans Times-Picaune (April)

Federal judge blasts Army Corps of Engineers for failing to protect New Orleanians during Katrina

[snip]  ” . . . .  Industrial Canal lock-widening work did not contribute to the failure of floodwalls bordering the Lower 9th Ward during Hurricane Katrina, a federal judge ruled Friday. In what he said is likely his last ruling involving Katrina levee and floodwall failures, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval lambasted the Army Corps of Engineers for engineering decisions he says were responsible for those failures, as well as the legal process that has granted the corps immunity from paying for the billions of dollars in damages caused by the flooding.

“I feel obligated to note that the bureaucratic behemoth that is the Army Corps of Engineers is virtually unaccountable to the citizens it protects despite the Federal Tort Claims Act,” the federal law governing damage claims, Duval wrote in the conclusion to his opinion. “The public will very possibly be more jeopardized by a lack of accountability than a rare judgment granting relief. The untold billions of dollars of damage incurred by the greater New Orleans area as a result of the levee failures during Katrina speak eloquently to that point.””

Site of 2 deadly plant explosions remain closed

Louisiana Bucket Brigade on ExxonMobil – Our Toxic Neighbors

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

Giant, oil-belching sinkhole dooms more than 100 homes in Louisiana

By John Upton
It’s looking like a neighborhood in Assumption Parish, La., has been permanently wiped out by a sloppy salt-mining company.
A sinkhole in the area has grown to 15 acres since an old salt mine that was emptied to supply the local petrochemical industry with brine began collapsing in August. Hundreds of neighbors were long ago evacuated, and many of them are now accepting that they will never return to their homes.
The sinkhole isn’t just endangering homes, it is also burping out oil, natural gas, and debris, shaking the area so powerfully that seismic equipment is being used to monitor the site. And brine from the sinkhole is in danger of contaminating local waterways. . . .

15 Acre Sinkhole in Louisiana Chews up Homes and Spits out Natural Gas

Catching up on the buy-out news

44 of 92 buyout offers accepted by residents near giant Louisiana sinkhole

From Insurance Journal

We are stuck by the fact that with all that has gone on at the slurry pit-to-sinkhole-to-lake at Bayou Corne since Aug. 15th Crosstex has  never updated their worst case scenario‘ report.  And the Conservation Dept. has never told them to do it.


7 p.m. tonight (CST) something happened at LA11 & LA14

Helicorders_March2013smThanks to David H. for this – 😉