Upper Miocene Canal Slide Repair

On March 3, 2014, a rockslide severed a section of flume along the Upper Miocene Canal, near Paradise, California.

The flume is perched along steep terrain approximately 220 vertical feet above the West Branch Feather River. Five remaining large loose rock blocks above the flume, on the upstream side of the evacuated rockslide, were identified as posing a very high risk to the water conveyance system and workers repairing the flume. The blocks ranged in size from 9 to 25 tons. Two additional blocks were identified as posing a significant hazard to the flume on the downstream side of the rockslide. Syblon Reid was contacted to perform an emergency repair prior to and during a normal outage period.

The scope included:

  • Scaling the loose rock and soil above the rockslide using hand tools,
  • Removing the five large loose rock blocks on the upstream side of the rockslide,
  • Stabilizating the two large rock blocks on the downstream side of the rockslide,
  • Installing PVC drain pipes in the larger open fractures of the remaining rock and placing strip drains across the smaller fractures, and
  • Placing reinforcing steel and shotcrete on the slope to make the site safe for workers and to stabilize it to prevent future slides.

The site is in a remote location accessible only by foot; therefore, helicopter support was required to fly in equipment and materials. Steep terrain required crews certified in high angle rope access, including the shotcrete nozzleman.

The repair work was completed within the planned outage period without a single first aid injury, OSHA recordable incident, or time loss injury.

The project is being inducted into the PG&E Hall of Fame based upon the safety, quality, and financial success of the entire effort.

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