Something was wrong with the Oroville Dam spillway weeks before the Department of Water Resources noticed a hole in the concrete.
Two photos taken by photographers from this newspaper show discoloration and possible damage to the concrete of the spillway at the spot where a gaping hole opened Feb. 7. Those pictures were taken Jan. 13 and Jan. 27.
When asked for a response to the photos, California Natural Resources Agency deputy secretary for communication Nancy Vogel wrote in an email to this newspaper, “Oroville dam was frequently inspected by multiple state and federal agencies. Reports of those inspections did not reveal any major causes for concern. DWR will soon name a panel of independent experts to investigate the cause of the main spillway failure and ascertain if such a failure could occur again. We hope that what we learn about the cause of this incident and how to prevent it elsewhere will help dam owners around the world.”
She did not ask to view the photos.