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Oroville Dam Spillway Failure: Watch Live Stream Online

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department ordered the immediate evacuation of residents in affected areas near the Oroville Dam on February 12. At least 188,000 people were evacuated because of an overflow of the dam’s emergency spillway.

The spillway was being used for the first time in its history because of a giant crater in the dam.

In a press conference late Sunday night, the Department of Water Resources in California updated the situation and said that the it appears to be under control.

Officials said the water level of Lake Oroville has been reduced and the water flow over the emergency spillway stopped at 8:45 p.m. Pacific on Sunday.

The department held a press conference earlier Sunday and said the flow of Oroville Dam’s “auxiliary spillway” has decreased, and erosion hasn’t progressed as quickly as first feared. Sheriff Kory Honea said in the press conference that a plan was being devised to fill the hole and resolve the situation.

For additional coverage from the scene, watch here:



Oroville Dam Spillway Failure: Pictures & Videos You Need to See

About 188,000 people were evacuated on February 12 because of an overflow of Oroville Dam's emergency spillway. See pictures and videos from the scene.

Click here to read more

Oroville Dam Spillway Failure: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

At least 188,000 people were evacuated around Oroville, California on February 12 because of an overflow of the Orville Dam's emergency spillway.

Click here to read more

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14 comments

  1. Speaking from an engineering perspective all the soil eroded away needed to be removed in order to re-engineer the Auxiliary Spillway. . so are they going to lower the lake 30 feet to bring it below the Auxiliary Spillway to inspect it?

      • It doesn’t make any difference what they do except give them some time to get people out of the way this dam is going to fail. There is to much snow pack and the turbines to use up the water are shut down and the spill way has been compromised. Some more water and lots of it is going to go over the emergency over flow part of the dam and it will wash out from their. There is enough snow pack to fill the dam twice and the spring rains and more snow is on the way. The spill way to exhaust the dam and the runoff is going to dig a gorge a mile deep in front of the dam and will compromise the integradie of the main face and the power house and the gates that open the existing spillway. There will be no stopping water going over the emergency spill way it is already broken and it’s a mater of time before it digs down to the point that in 1 day the water in Orville dam will be headed for San Francisco. This event will be the United States worst catastrophe in our history and if not evacuated thousands will die. This is going to be one big teacher that mega structures like this need to be built with out cutting corners maintained and up graded. To replace this dam is going to cost 200 billion to a trillion dollars and it made the state of California trillions. This compared to the cost of the competent, Common Sense individuals trained by old timers that built the dam that would have know that the water in that dam had to be kept at bare minimum right now. State of California water resources has failed and a bigger problem also exist with the Shasta dam because it is currently at 96 percent full and other dams are the same. Mother Nature put the operators of the Oriville dam in check mate and there is no way out. What a waste.

  2. What you have here is a water company being run by an accountant not engineers. They should never have let that water overflow the embankment. The damage was done to the main spillway, and it was done a long way down from the structure of the gates, it was never going to erode back up the hill, and it hasn’t since they increased the flow, but now they have let erosion set in right under the structure. The gates should have been opened as much as was needed to prevent the over topping. They should also never have cleared the vegetation, roots hold soil in place, all they have done is create a loose mud bank with no integrity at all.

    • what they should have done is made an actual auxiliary spillway, rather than just call the hillside your Aux spillway. These are things that engineers should know: Approximately how long till something fails, and what will happen when it does. anyone with any knowledge of fluvial processes could have told you that eventually, the main spillway would succumb to some sort of sinkhole effect. You would also have to assume that it would happen during a period when the dam is full, as that is when the spillway is made the most use of.

      the bad foresight and contingency planning has made a manageable situation into an unmanageable one, where now 200k nearby residents are being evacuated.

  3. Here is a suggestion for the people in charge: Smooth out the earth below the emergency spillway. Line the base of that smooth area with a heavy layer of plastic sheeting or other material that can keep water from permeating the earth below. Pave over the plastict with a heavy load of tar. Smooth out the tar perfectly so that the water has an easy flow away from the emergency spillway. If there is any edge for the water to catch on the tar will be ripped up so great care must be taken to sculpt a path away from the base of the spillway with the least resistance possible. Computer modeling exists for this effort- call Scripps. Extend that plastic and tar as far as reasonably possible down the hill.

    This is a huge operation. Lets get started Governor Brown. The money that will be saved will be worth it.

    Lets go:

    1. Get the lights on tonight. Get the engineers to work on a non-permeable membrane- plastic sheeting might work, an epoxy spray on substance might also work.
    2. Get the dozers in there scuplting the soil. Use the existing soil from below hill. The dozers can work while we figure out the membrane and the exact contours.
    3. Get those asphalt plants going and ship buckets full of the stuff by helo.
    4. By morning start rolling the tar smooth.
    This can be done and it is a reasonable method of repairing the emergency spillway before the rain starts. Concrete will not dry in time. Hot asphalt hardens when cooled.

    BoDean Asphalt, Santa Rosa 120 miles SE, 2 hr. round trip by helo. Skyway Asphalt, Chico (Close). Start heating it up, time is a wasting!

    • You have no idea what you’re talking about. The force of the water that ripped apart reinforced concrete is instantly going to sweep away your remedy in the time it takes me to type this.

      • Actually Gregory the main spillway does not appear to have reinforced concrete. Do you see any rebar in the images? I’m more inclined now to suggest a lining of a non-permeable “rubberized” material held in place with a water filled perimeter berm like that used to protect the Fort Calhoun nuke plant in 2011. What is your idea Greg?

  4. if the Hollywood elite and a couple thousand illegal immigrants showed up to form a bucket brigade and divert the water to areas in California suffering from drought folks would’ve been really impressed. But the Grammys were on, so….

    • actually the scarring happened just underneath the emergency spillway, not just the spillway. If the water was to erode the underside of the wall….

  5. “Built to hold snow melt, not rain”….ummmm….snow melt is water. Rain is water. It’s all water. Do they hear the words that are coming out of their mouths? Just wondering.

  6. They are mining for Gold . see Prospect Jess on Orovilel end 2 videos put out by Enterthe5t4rz.. They pre planned for this gold extraction hundreds of years ago.. King Yuba/Juba, and his wife Celene Cleopatra settled there… gold shipped to Solomon every 3 yrs.. Media blackout for a reason.. this dam is coming down…. no consideration for the people.