The California Department of Water Resources is closely keeping a close watch on the Oroville reservoir levels. Due to storms expected in the Feather River basin, DWR is getting ready to use the recently repaired main spillway if necessary as early as the first week of April.
DWR officials said on Tuesday that they will follow the standard protocol and keep regulatory agencies, local law enforcement, and local elected officials updated on possible use of the spillway as water levels behind the dam continue to rise.
In preparation for the possibility the spillway will be used, DWR is in the process of removing construction equipment from the spillway chute. Crews will also do away with a temporary road below the main spillway that has been used for construction vehicles. That is being done to minimize water quality impacts.
Temporary cameras and lights have been placed alongside the spillway to allow officials to watch if the water begins to flow down the chute.
The main spillway and the emergency spillway are reconstructed after major storms in Northern California led to the failure of the main spillway.
Just last week, an expert on dams from Ohio insisted to KFBK that the dam is still seeping water, and he has concerns that the upper portion may be susceptible to erosion which could lead to uncontrolled releases of water into the river below.
In February of 2017 about 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate due to fears the Oroville Dam spillway would fail after it was discovered that water flowing underneath the main spillway had caused extensive damage and forced its closure.
DWR officials later told KFBK that they have complete confidence in the structural integrity of the dam and the new spillway.