California would beef up dam inspections under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, a year after a near disaster prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents living downstream from the tallest U.S. dam.
The Assembly unanimously gave final approval to the bill requiring annual inspections for dams deemed to be high hazards.
The measure also sets standards for inspections, requires inspectors to consult with independent experts to update dam safety measures every 10 years and requires that inspection reports be available to the public with certain sensitive information withheld if it creates a security risk.
Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher was among those who evacuated when officials feared the collapse of both the main and emergency spillways before they were deemed safe days later.
“We left not knowing if we would even have a home to return to. But we came back vowing ‘Never again,”’ said Gallagher, who sponsored the bill. “This disaster jeopardized lives, property and California’s water supply.”