Camanche Dam and Reservoir pass inspection in San Joaqin Valley

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Issues at the Oroville Dam are prompting more frequent inspections for Bay Area dams and reservoirs. Officials from the East Bay Municipal Utility District went to the Camanche Dam and Reservoir to check things out Wednesday. (KGO-TV)

The issues at the Oroville Dam have prompted inspections at several Bay Area dams including the Camanche Dam and Reservoir in the central valley.

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Tom Boardman and his team from the East Bay Municipal Utility District drove out to inspect the dam Wednesday. "This is a 160-foot high earthen dam and there's roughly 130 feet of water behind it," he said. "And what we're concerned about is that water will drain through the dam or drain underneath the dam and bubble up underneath our feet there."

While there is plenty of saturated soil at the toe of the reservoir from recent rainfall, Boardman says their tests and observations Wednesday will indicate the dam is holding up well.

"You can see the water is actually relatively clear. It's not cloudy," Boardman told ABC7 News. "If it was chocolate milk, kind of dirty, that would mean that parts of the dam are starting to erode and we're not seeing that here."

About a year-and-a-half ago during the drought, Camanche Reservoir was 60 feet lower than it is now. It's 90 percent full and as a result the reservoir is releasing the maximum allowed amount of water into the Mokelumne River.

If the water continues to rise to the brim of the reservoir that's when Comanche's one concrete spillway, which hasn't spilled water in 20 years, would come into play.

Lake Oroville has two concrete spillways--both of which have been damaged by erosion in recent storms.

"There's heightened awareness of spillways and what could go wrong and even though we're comfortable with the spillway we just wanted to come out here and make sure everything was okay," Boardman told ABC7 News.

Officials say it's all looking good.

East Bay MUD will be back at the Camanche Reservoir for another inspection next week.
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