Oroville locals react to second anniversary of spillway emergency

The Oroville Dam Spillway on the second anniversary of the emergency.

Thursday marks two-years since the first hole opened up in the Oroville Dam Spillway, triggering an emergency that forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

The Department of Water Resources had been releasing 60,000 cubic feet of water per second, when they noticed the concrete on the spillway began to disintegrate. That first day, the hole was 30-feet deep, by 180-feet wide. The DWR was releasing water to make room in Lake Oroville, for heavy rain that was causing the lake levels to rise.

Although there is heavy rain expected next week, Lake Oroville is only at 43-percent total capacity, meaning even with the rain, the lake will not need to be drained.

Will DeFronzo, a 15-year resident of Oroville, spoke about his father, who worked on the dam back in the 1960's. He said he still feels safe, living down the street from the spillway. DeFronzo is happy with the progress of the repairs that have been made since the emergency.

"What was code in '68 has changed 49, 50 years. So, I mean, I feel comfortable and I think they've been doing a good job," DeFronzo said.

People outside of DeFronzo's neighborhood had more concerns during the emergency. One of his neighbors, an 80-year-old woman, went up to Red Bluff for safety, after her family urged her to leave. Several families didn't have an opinion on the repairs, as they just moved to the area, after their homes were destroyed in the Camp Fire.

It's important to remember that even when water levels in the lake are high, what matters is the volume of water inside the lake, which is currently much lower than it was two years ago, during the emergency.

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