PG&E Crews Work to Dismantle Towers in Path of Emergency Spillway at Oroville Dam

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 OROVILLE -- Pacific Gas & Electric crews and contracted helicopter operators to dismantle and remove two transmission towers in the path of an emergency spillway at Oroville dam Friday.

The emergency spillway, which has never been used at the Oroville Dam, is a contingency plan in case further erosion continues on the controlled spillway, which was found to have chunks of concrete missing on it earlier this week.

The odds of the emergency spillway being put into use are highly unlikely according to engineers with the Department of Water Resources.

"Although the videos you're seeing on Facebook and social media and on the news looks like a real dire situation, we have a lot of dam experts here monitoring the situation 24/7 analyzing erosion for continued planning for contingencies," said Kevin Doosey of the Department of Water Resources.

As of Friday evening the water pouring over the spillway decreased from 65,000 cubic feet per second to 55,000 cubic feet per second in hopes of limiting further erosion.

PG&E will need to continue work into Saturday to completely remove the towers using a helicopter to take down the transmission line in sections. A series of power lines with reroute power temporarily. Customer electric service is not expected to change, reports PG&E.

If the rate of inflow to the Oroville Dam decreases as expected to around 70,000 cubic feet per second this weekend, officials say the emergency spillway will not be used, assuming the current spillway concrete issues do not worsen.

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