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Earth News

Damming News From Washington State 168

Trax3001BBS writes "A 65-foot (20-meter) crack has been found in Wanapum Dam, one of the major dams along the Columbia River in southern Washington. Water levels are being lowered to both reduce water pressure and give the inspectors access to the area. 'Earlier this week, an engineer noticed a slight irregular "bowing" above the spillway gates near where cars can drive across the dam. When divers finally took a look under water they found a 2-inch-wide crack that stretched for 65 feet along the base of one of the dam's spillway piers.' The article goes on to say, 'Even if the dam doesn't fail, the significance of the damage is likely to require extensive repairs and that, too, could impact the entire Columbia River system. "All these dams coordinate to generate energy on a regional scope," Stedwick said. "If Wanapum is impacted, that has impacts on dams upstream as well as below." Upstream dams would be required to handle more water; there's only one lower dam (Priest Rapids). After that is the last free flowing section of the Columbia river. I've taken walks along that section, and I've seen it deviate (higher or lower) by amazing amount of water, so it can handle the changing flow rate. Making this situation more complex, a large group of people would like that particular dam removed, as well as the one above and below it (think of the fish!). On top of that, after the Priest Rapids dam (downstream from Wanapum Dam) is the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, once a site for Plutonium production. Either of these issues could generate a ton of attention. Personally, I'd like to give the engineer that noticed a slight irregular 'bowing' my congratulations."
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Damming News From Washington State

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  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sharkyfour ( 14327 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @12:21AM (#46379447) Homepage Journal

    I know this is going to kill my karma, but WTF?? That is the most poorly written article I've ever seen on here and I'd wager that most would find it completely off-topic for the site. Combined with the new commenting system, and I think my days here are over. It's been a fun ride, but adios Slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @12:26AM (#46379463)

    cloned dinosaurs escape their cages and stampede the earth, sending millions of flesh light users into the depths of the earth, where still more dinosaurs eat them and hang some as tapestries.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @12:43AM (#46379497)

    If there is only one dam below Wanapum, this will be easy. But don't miss an opportunity to throw in a totally irrelevant mention of the Hanford nuclear weapons complex - you know, that place that itself gets irrelevantly dragged into any discussion of commercial nuclear power.

  • Re: WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @01:08AM (#46379557)

    I have to agree. Why was this posted here? Because a civil engineer spotted a crack? The link between "news for nerds" and a cracked dam is pretty tenuous.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @01:08AM (#46379559)

    That is the most poorly written article I've ever seen on here

    Stand by ....

    and I'd wager that most would find it completely off-topic for the site.

    Why? It deals with engineering and technology. If it was a crack in a Shuttle SRB seal we'd be discussing it. It may not be cool and sexy like the latest s/w SNAFU, but infrastructure gobbles up a lot of money and its maintenance (or lack thereof) is a major issue in this country and others.

  • dams down river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wildfish ( 779284 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @01:37AM (#46379665)
    There are 5 dams down stream of wanapum, 1 above the free flowing hanford reach and 4 dams below that. River "operations" involve a complicated coordination of all the dams and reservoirs to provide adequate flow for fish and year-round power generation. It is an interesting engineering problem - hacking a river. There is also a computer angle here in that several data centers are located in Grant County (which owns the generation rights) to take advantage of the cheap reliable power. Presumably those data centers are watching this closely. Power rates for everyone in the county will rise if they have less power to sell or if they have to buy power from outside the county. The system is dependent upon storage for of moving water down stream the river is very interesting in that water flowing through one dam
  • Re: WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xyzzyman ( 811669 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @02:08AM (#46379737)
    Unless the damn was built after using 3d rendered models and ran through thousands of simulations then it isn't "tech". It took no math or science to build the Erie Canal, the Hoover Dam or the Panama Canal. In seriousness this is a better story on the site than a story about outstanding student loan debt. The engineering in projects like this and what it will take to fix it requires the same skills as people who design realistic game environments and physics simulators, etc. Many facets all come into play. Anyone who doesn't see this as "news for nerds" should probably go visit the Hoover Dam or tour an aircraft carrier.
  • Re: WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @02:20AM (#46379783) Homepage Journal

    It took no math or science to build the Erie Canal, the Hoover Dam or the Panama Canal.

    Unfortunately, I had to read the rest of your post three times to make sure you weren't seriously claiming this. It's amazing the number of self-proclaimed nerds who don't seem to understand that technology actually does predate computers.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.