Bergen municipality will receive a fine of NOK 2 million, while Multiconsult ASA will be fined NOK 800,000 after the incident almost three years ago.
More than 130 people in 40 residential houses were evacuated during the serious incident. Some had only ten minutes to get out of the house and away from the amount of water that was on the way.
The dam failure caused major damage to both houses and infrastructure.
– NVE meiner Bergen municipality and Multiconsult ASA have violated the watercourse legislation by not ensuring that the catchment dam was made so that water could be leased past the dam. This caused the lake to flow over the top of the dam, something it did not tolerate and therefore collapsed, NVE concludes.
The section manager for dam safety in NVE informs NRK that it is very rare that they issue fines in connection with such cases.
– It is a serious case, we have not given a crime fee many times. The fact that a fee of that size is given shows that we take the case very seriously, says Lars Grøttå.
70,000 cubic meters of water
Bergen municipality is a women’s owner and was the client for the work in Munkebotn in August 2018. Multiconsult ASA was a hired consultant with tasks and responsibilities according to the dam safety regulations.
According to NVE, almost 70,000 cubic meters of water flowed out in half an hour when the dam burst.
The water cascades down towards the settlements around E39 in Eidsvåg north of Bergen.
– There has been a failure in the planning from the municipality’s side and Multiconsult. The danger potential of the catch pond standing there alone and holding back the lake was also not a solution in a proper way. They fail in both the planning of the dam and the contingency planning, says Grøttå in NVE to NRK.
La vekk saka
The capture dam in Munkebotn was established in connection with the construction of a new dam at Munkebotsvatnet.
But due to too much rainfall, the lake was overcrowded, the lake ran over the dam top and the catchment dam failed.
The police have also investigated the case and filed charges in March 2020. The public prosecutor dropped the case and transferred it to NVE for follow-up.
– NVE meiner Bergen municipality also had not updated the contingency plan and technical plan for the construction work, and that there was a lack of internal control, it says in the press release.
NVE also writes that they have chosen not to fine the contractor Donar, even though this was notified.
Bergen municipality and Multiconsult must now take a position on the fees they have received. If they choose to appeal the decision, the appeal will be processed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
– Always serious
Magnar Sekse is the director of the Water and Sewerage Authority in Bergen municipality. He told them that they had our foresight that they could be fined.
– It is always serious when we get a fine for such a case. We are concerned that we should learn as much as possible from this incident so that such an incident can never happen here in Bergen, he says.
Six can not tell whether they will accept the fine.
– We will read the case carefully and familiarize ourselves thoroughly with the premises for NVE’s decision before we can comment on the case further, says the director.