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The original item was published from 11/15/2018 12:46:09 PM to 11/16/2019 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: November 15, 2018

[ARCHIVED] More than $700,000 in safety upgrades to New Bullards Bar Dam complete

A Yuba Water Agency employee watches as a new spillway gate motor is hoisted by a crane.

Yuba Water Agency has completed a $701,440 project to overhaul and upgrade the spillway gate drive mechanisms at New Bullards Bar Dam, ensuring reliable operation well into the future. 

All three of the spillway gates operate within specification and have been released for full operational duty.

“The previous motors were more than 50 years old and were near the end of their serviceable life,” said Aaron Esselman, mechanical hydro engineer for Yuba Water Agency. “We have a robust spillway hoist system that is in full compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission standards.” 

The following components were refurbished, replaced or modified:

  • Hoist motors were replaced

  • All three gearboxes were fully refurbished and all internal wear elements were replaced

  • The original braking system was overhauled with all new components

  • All of the spillway control wiring was replaced

  • A new motor control center was installed

  • Modern motor protection relays were installed

  • A redundant motor brake was installed

  • All of the controls were replaced

The entire project was completely assessed and installed by Yuba Water Agency employees, which also provided useful data retention that will help drive future improvements. 

“The recently completed improvements complement what is really a very well-maintained dam,” said Yuba Water Agency Chief Dam Safety Engineer Tim Truong. “There have been a series of recent physical inspections and comprehensive evaluations - both in-house and from third parties - which show that New Bullards Bar Dam and spillway are in satisfactory condition. That’s great news as we prepare to enter flood season.”

Safety is Yuba Water Agency’s number one priority, which is the reason the agency has invested approximately $9 million in dam and spillway work in just over a decade, including strengthening the radial spillway gates, installing new gate cables, grouting and drain cleaning.

The agency is now planning to spend an estimated $160 million to install a secondary spillway at the dam, further enhancing dam safety and significantly reducing flood risk for the people of Yuba and Sutter counties. 

Yuba Water Agency continuously invests in the spillway and infrastructure at New Bullards Bar Dam to further reduce the risk of flooding, improve overall dam safety and to ensure a reliable supply of water for the benefit of farmers and ranchers and the 80 percent of Yuba County residents who rely on groundwater.

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