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Spillway camera at Oroville Dam is still out of commission

California State Parks has a webcam that shows viewers the spillway at Oroville Dam. It is out of commission, so we sent a reporter to capture video of current spillway conditions.

Posted: Mar. 24, 2019 6:52 PM
Updated: Mar. 24, 2019 6:56 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - The California State Parks web camera that is pointed at the Oroville spillway from the visitor center at the Oroville Dam is out of commission right now.

Action News Now received messages from community members who were worried when they could not see what was occurring on the spillway. Others raised concerned about reports of spotlights and equipment that can be seen on areas of the spillway where water appears to be seeping through.

Update on Oroville Reservoir Levels and Operations from DWR Mar. 24, 2019

The water you see on the spillway is water passing through the spillway gates. As the reservoir surpasses elevation 813 feet (the elevation of the bottom of the spillway gates), some water does seep through the gates onto the spillway as the gates are not designed to be water tight. DWR issued a press release about this on March 5 as the water was approaching the gates. Livestreams provided by Cal State Parks show this occurrence. 

There are erroneous reports that blasting work is being done on the face of the dam. That is incorrect. There is no blasting on the face of the dam. DWR is conducting controlled light blasting as part of a site grading plan on the hillsides near the spillways, approximately 3,000 or more feet away from the dam. DWR has obtained required permits for the controlled light charge blasting from its state and federal regulatory partners, as well as the Butte County Sheriff’s Department and the Butte County Air Quality Management District. Blasting has taken place since 2017.  

Controlled light charge blasting is a safe and a common practice at dam construction sites throughout the United States. At Oroville, seismographs are located throughout the project area to monitor movements and to make sure recorded vibrations are within safe limits.

In anticipation of potential use of the main spillway later this spring, DWR has placed additional cameras, ladders and lights for observation. DWR will be installing permanent observation equipment this summer which would replace these temporary measures. 

If there are significant changes to operations and releases, or the likelihood of utilizing the main spillway increases, DWR will notify stakeholders, the media and the public.

According to State Parks one of the webcams was damaged during recent storms. They said they are still waiting on a part that they need in order to repair the camera.

When Lake Oroville is 813 feet or higherwater seepage is expected and is considered normal. The spillway gates are not airtight, she explained. Mellon said DWR has placed additional cameras, ladders and lights at the spillway for observation because they expect they may have to use the spillway this spring.

Accompanying sidebar article is a statement from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) dated Mar. 24, 2019.

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