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Ring Gate Spillway Shaft Inspection-September 2014

“Five years previous the idea of an inspection rappel down the Glory Hole was mentioned. Several who participated in the rappel of the face voiced their wish to do that as well should the opportunity come up.”

“Through the efforts of our current dam supervisor , the management staff of Owyhee Irrigation District and the Bureau of Reclamation we were able to make it happen.”

This structure is scheduled to be inspected every ten years. The last inspection was done by the US Bureau of Reclamation September 10-12th of 2001. With that in mind Owyhee Irrigation District organized an inspection rappel. The US Bureau of Reclamation was contacted and invited to participate as well as other emergency services organizations.

By including these agencies we were able to maximize the emergency support as well as complete a detailed inspection by BOR.

In addition to the inspection rappel, Malheur County Search and Rescue rope rescue team performed a rigged rope rescue from the ring gate control room. This is a narrow spiral staircase and poses a real challenge to extricate a patient.


November 20, 2013 Rex Franklin our Owyhee Dam supervisor received a copy of the JHA and 2001 Climb Team Spillway Inspection Report sent by BOR. During the next ten months the real work was done putting together the pieces to safely complete these tasks.

The Owyhee Dam Vertical Shaft Spillway (Glory Hole) drawings show it to be a 309 foot vertical elevation from top to bottom. The outlet tunnel was the river bypass tunnel during construction of the dam.

Upon completion a plug was poured to the up stream side of the horizontal shaft and a transition slope formed to the vertical shaft forming the completed spillway.

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