NID approves $470K to replace problem valve at Rollins Dam
December 19, 2017
A broken outlet valve at the Nevada Irrigation District's Rollins Dam on the Bear River has gone unrepaired for more than three years.
A Sacramento Bee review of inspection reports completed by California's Division of Safety of Dams revealed "a troubling pattern of delay and deferral of maintenance issues" at some of the state's "high-hazard" dams, including Rollins, where facility failure could threaten people downstream.
When the Division of Safety of Dams performed an annual maintenance inspection at Rollins in Sept. 2014, officials found that, due to an electric systems malfunction, NID was unable to fully open and close two of the dam's outlet valves. The division deemed the dam "safe for continued use," but requested NID demonstrate the ability to effectively operate the valves during the next maintenance inspection.
The division returned to Rollins in December 2014 to again inspect the outlet valves and found that one of the two valves was working properly, but NID was unable to open the other beyond 65 percent.
In Sept. 2015, during another annual inspection, the division noted that NID had removed grease that had accumulated on the faulty valve and was able to open it to 88 percent. The following year, the division's report noted that NID had begun designing a replacement outlet valve, but the existing one was still not fully operational.
In November, NID's board of directors approved the purchase of a new valve and support structure at Rollins for nearly $470,000. The valve hasn't yet been installed.
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NID General Manager Remleh Scherzinger did not return calls seeking comment for this story. In a news release, the district described the outlet valve as being "like the plug on the bottom of the bathtub used to drain the tub."
"The valve serves as a backup and is not used as part of normal operations," the release states. "When NID needs to manage reservoir water levels, it does so through its power plant and a spillway."
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4231.