Essence Conveyors to Aid Construction of Dam


By the end of the week, conveyor systems designed and manufactured by Essence Engineering of Ventura are expected to begin transporting 1,200 tons of earth per hour during construction of the Seven Oaks Dam in San Bernardino County.

The $460-million dam, located in the city of Highlands, is part of the Army Corps of Engineers’ $1.5-billion Santa Ana River Flood Control Project. The five-year project, which also calls for improvements along the Santa Ana River flood channel, and the raising of the Prado Dam in Riverside County are aimed at improving conditions in an area identified by the Army Corps as a major flood threat.

Essence Engineering was awarded a $135,000 contract last summer to manufacture a pair of conveyor systems to help construct the dam, which will be 500 feet high and 3,000 feet long when completed.

“The purpose of the dam is to contain the overflow of Big Bear Lake. During a rainy season, the dam could hold back a lot of water,” said Hank Campbell, vice president of engineering at Essence.


Campbell said the first conveyor system, which is 36 inches wide, will move clay, sand and silt over a 3 1/2-mile stretch from a rock quarry to the dam site. A 60-inch-wide conveyor system, which Campbell said should be operating by next spring, will move larger rock at a rate of 2,400 tons per hour. The rock, he said, will be used to stabilize the softer landfill.