Oh, Dam. Oroville Dam Uses its Emergency Spillway

Oh, Dam. Oroville Dam Uses its Emergency Spillway

Usually, when one thinks about California, they think of nice beaches, laid back attitudes, and droughts. Lately, there has been a lot of news about flooding conditions and problems with the Oroville Dam. The Oroville Dam is in Northern California and construction of the tallest earthen dam in the United States was completed in 1968. After a significant amount of rain during the first week of February, a crater began to form in the dam’s spillway. The workers reduced the amount of water that was to flow through the designed spillway to not create any more damage to it. This affected the dam significantly since the inflow to the above reservoir was greater than the outflow of the main spillway. This caused the dam to use its emergency spillway for the first time.

Since the emergency spillway was not designed to handle heavy flows from the dam, workers feared it too would fail just like the main spillway. Use of the emergency spillway caused severe erosion damage, and if it were to fail it would allow billions of gallons of water to flow quickly out of the dam and destroy everything in its path. Once the threat of this was possible, officials evacuated 188,000 people that were located in the floodplain. Most recently, the dam’s main spillway was inspected and was determined it can still handle large flows of water. The main spillway was reopened and allowed the workers to release more water quickly, so the emergency spillway was no longer needed. People were allowed to return to their homes and repair has begun on the emergency spillway to correct all the erosion problems.

The Public Meeting

The Public Meeting

At the culmination of months of work and planning, we find ourselves on a cool winter’s night at the municipal building to ‘showcase’ our work for the seal of approval. But why in the evening? Why not during the day?

After doing a little research it seems that Pennsylvania may be in the minority with the night meeting. Many of the municipalities I researched have at least some of their meetings during the day (5 PM or earlier) including Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; Roanoke County, Virginia; Tallahassee, Florida; San Francisco, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada.

So what are the benefits of night meetings? The most obvious reason is that night meetings allow for easier access to the public since the majority of the population works during the day. With that being said, it is 2017 and many municipalities allow public access to meeting minutes and agendas through the internet. When there is something on the agenda that a member of the public feels the need to attend, then they make arrangements to attend just as someone who works and evening or night shift.

The benefits of day meetings allow for those that do need to attend the meeting be home at night to attend Junior’s basketball game or little Sally’s dance recital. Day time meetings also benefit the municipality since they would not have to “keep the lights on” for the extended hours after the typical day is over. Maybe the day meetings would also keep some of the complainers at home, you know the one that has a comment on everything.

What do you think?

The Estates at Dowlin Forge Station

The Estates at Dowlin Forge Station

 

With site construction well underway at the start of 2017, The Estates at Dowlin Forge Station races towards home startups anticipated in early summer. The 140 acre site located just west of the Brandywine Creek will spawn a total of 204 units. DLHowell was retained by the site developer in 2016 to help navigate their way through a web of unforeseen site improvement issues encountered at the East Brandywine project site. Not long after breaking ground, site contractors were faced with shallow rock throughout the sloping site and wide ranging topographic tolerances due to heavy underbrush associated with the previously logged tract. In order to minimize the amount of blasting r

equired for the installation of utilities and roadways, DLHowell strategically re-vertically aligned certain improvements to reduce the need for costly blasting of bedrock while at the same time not incurring a compete overhaul – and formal re-approval – of the project. Prior timber harvesting of the site before development resulted in a dense under story vegetative growth which impacted the accuracy of aerial topographic flights.

DLHowell, in conjunction with HowellKline Surveying, worked with developers and site contractors to provide supplemental field run topographic surveys in critical areas around the site perimeter to ensure limits of earthwork were acceptable. With the construction schedule unable to slip and in an effort to keep pipe crews working, daily exchanges of information between field survey crews and engineers often occurred “from field to phone”… resulting in instantaneous engineering and design change releases. Not often is it that you see surveying, e

ngineering and installation occur in the same day, which certainly kept things interesting for all parties involved. In addition, DLHowell routinely coordinates with the appropriate regulatory agencies to keep them up to speed on proposed design changes allowing site work to proceed and keep home building on target for summer.

Chatham Financial Parking Lot Expansion

Chatham Financial Parking Lot Expansion

 

D.L.Howell & Associates, Inc. is continuing to work with Chatham Financial on another project at their Corporate Headquarters in Kennett Township. Chatham acquired a parcel of ground adjacent to their existing campus allowing them to construct additional surface parking. The new parking area will consist of 161 spaces and connect to an existing 80 space parking lot and internal driveway DLH designed in 2014. Both of these parking lots will allow Chatham to complete construction of their Phase III building project and will replace a 4 level parking structure. Chatham intends to have the parking completed by the end of summer this year allowing building construction to commence in the fall. DLH is designing the site to meet and exceed the State and Township requirements for storm water management and infiltration. DLH is utilizing underground stone beds, a large rain garden and extensive landscaping within and around the site. Chatham requested DLH to specify LED site lighting throughout the parking lot and upgrade the existing light fixtures to match. DLH is working closely with the owner, and design team including; John Jaros from Riley Riper Hollin & Colegreco and Patrick Stuart from Orsatti Stuart Landscape Architects to develop detailed site plans and obtain final Land Development approval.