National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Wildfire season is here – tips and safety precautions
Temperatures are heating up with weather forecasts anticipating temperatures up to 99 degrees in Eugene and the surrounding areas on the 4th of July.Find Out More
EWEB Safety Tip: Celebrate responsibly with balloons
If your graduation celebration involves balloons, make sure they are secured with a weight. Otherwise, they can float away and come into contact with overhead power lines.Find Out More
Every Week is Infrastructure Week
National Infrastructure Week (May 14-20) may be a politically charged quip on the national stage, but for EWEB, the urgency and importance of infrastructure is no joke.Find Out More
EWEB to replace aging College Hill Reservoir with new earthquake-proof storage tanks
Old reservoir leaks, threatening water quality, and will fail when a major earthquake strikes.Find Out More
EWEB conducts annual High-Risk Fire Zone inspections
Crews are identifying and addressing equipment failures before wildfire season and doing so mitigates risk of fire ignition.Find Out More
New water treatment trailer improves EWEB’s emergency response abilities
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is expanding its capacity to provide water to customers in case of an emergency.Find Out More
Stay warm as the weather dips into freezing temperatures
With cold and icy weather forecasted for the next several days, we want to share some tips on how to heat your home while still conserving energy. We also have tips on how to stay warm if there is a power outage at your home.Find Out More
Firewood program in Blue River helps Holiday Farm Fire survivors stay warm
An EWEB-supported program provides firewood for people affected by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. The McKenzie Firewood program was developed by Pure Water Partners (PWP) in 2021.Find Out More
Your electric rates at work: EWEB’s grid demonstrates resiliency during December’s winter storms
Despite an ice storm and a few windstorms in Eugene and the McKenzie Valley in the past few weeks, EWEB has so far fended off widespread weather-caused power outages – largely because of investments in year-round system maintenance and infrastructure improvements.Find Out More
EWEB helps rural water utility by donating equipment and staff expertise
In response to a call for aid this week, EWEB’s water division jumped into action to assist the town of Mapleton after a leak in their water system left about 260 homes without running water.Find Out More
EWEB Prepares for Winter Weather Year-Round
For EWEB, preparing for harsh winter storms is a year-round responsibility. While we can’t control the weather, we can make our electric infrastructure more resilient to withstand storms that bring snow, ice and wind to Eugene.Find Out More
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Dam Safety is a Top Priority
March 20, 2017
The recent crisis at Oroville Dam in California has raised concerns about dam safety across the country. Just north of Sacramento, the Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the United States (770 feet high) and is a critical piece of California's water supply system.
In February, after record rainfall filled Oroville Reservoir to more than 100 percent of normal capacity, a gaping hole appeared in the dam's main spillway. As the damage worsened, operators began releasing water over the emergency spillway for the first time in the reservoir's history. Parts of the earthen spillway quickly eroded, threatening to undermine a key concrete slab holding water in the reservoir. Fearing a dam breach, authorities ordered more than 180,000 people downstream to evacuate.
Could this happen to any of EWEB's dams?
Dams are some of the most important infrastructure facilities we manage. EWEB owns and operates six dams on the McKenzie River as part of our hydroelectric power generation system: Carmen Diversion, Smith, Trail Bridge, Leaburg, Leaburg Canal, and Walterville Canal. These dams are an important part of our commitment to delivering reliable, cost-effective and renewable power to local homes and businesses.
Dam safety is a very high priority at EWEB and events like Oroville are a good reminder that we can't take our dams for granted. Lucky for us, all of EWEB's spillways are constructed on bedrock, so the type of damage seen at Oroville is unlikely to happen here. While our dams are safe and well-maintained, there are risks associated with all dams. We can never eliminate all risks, but we can take proactive steps to identify and minimize risk.
Here's how we keep EWEB dams safe:
Monitoring and compliance
All of our dams meet current engineering standards and are in compliance with state and federal regulations. Federal and state regulators work with our staff to perform annual inspections to ensure safe operating conditions. The Leaburg Dam and Canal will undergo annual inspection and maintenance starting on March 25, followed by similar inspections and maintenance activities at the Walterville project in June.
Operators, engineers and surveyors inspect hydro facilities weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually. That's over 50 inspections each year.
A good maintenance program will protect a dam against deterioration and prolong its life. Our generation staff and contractors routinely repair concrete, re-seal leaky canals, ensure proper drainage and maintain operating systems at the most highest industry standards.
Our staff receives routine training on dam operations, safety and emergency response.
We maintain Emergency Action Plans to protect the residents and property in the McKenzie River Valley in the unlikely event of a dam or canal breach. Every five years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires EWEB to test emergency action plans for the Carmen-Smith and Leaburg-Walterville hydroelectric projects. We coordinate closely with emergency management authorities, such as Central Lane 911, on notification and communication procedures, including pre-planned mass communications in the event of a dam emergency.
How to report a problem
If you notice anything out of the ordinary on any EWEB canal, reservoir or dam, please call our main number 541-685-7000 and ask to speak with EWEB's Generation Engineering Supervisor. After hours, contact the Leaburg Dam Duty Operator at 541-852-1906.