Local dams undergo routine inspections, engineers say

After years of drought, too much rain all at once threatened communities near the Oroville dam this week. Could the same thing happen on the Central Coast? The dam at Lopez Lake is inspected at least annually by state agencies and daily by the county, according to engineers. “We inspect them everyday looking for seepage displacement,” said Mark Hutchinson, San Luis Obispo County Public Works. “At Lopez dam, we do walk the spillway and when we do that we look for any signs of instability with the concrete. We look for offsets, leakage through drains,” said Andrew Mangney, a state engineer with the Department of Safety of Dams.

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